Did you know UCF had 51 DUI cases on campus and within a two-mile radius in 2010-11? In addition, there were 30 medical transports of students for excessive intoxication. Over the past academic year, the university community has seen a rise in both these numbers. It’s time to act. This is our wake up call.

President John C. Hitt called the UCF community to action in his State of the University address stating: “UCF has no tolerance for underage and excessive drinking. It takes only one bad decision to tragically change lives.”

Connecticut College President Leo Higdon stated, “this [alcohol] is an issue that affects all of us – administrators, faculty, staff and most importantly students. Excessive alcohol consumption by college students has deep implications later in life. Excessive drinking can also lead to academic problems, social isolation, vandalism, sexual violence, injuries and even death. . . . I want those students to know that I care about them, that people on campus are paying close attention to their behavior, and that we will not hesitate to intervene.” The UCF community should expect nothing less from us as leaders and role models for our students.

UCF C.A.R.E.S. was established under the direction of SDES Vice President Maribeth Ehasz where a team of SDES members were charged with creating a campuswide consistent message.
The UCF C.A.R.E.S. stands for:

  • Communicate.
  • Ask students questions. In a recent training, Ehasz mentioned; “We often ask students who may be failing a class, do you not know the material… but what about asking what has your alcohol use been like recently?”
  • Respect boundaries. Some students may not be ready today to talk, but keep that door open.
  • Empower everyone to get involved.
  • Support students who are trying to make changes.
  • “The UCF community must promote health and safety through their relationships with students,” remarked team member Stephanie Spies.

    The focus of UCF C.A.R.E.S. is to open dialogue with students and become partners in reducing the number of DUIs, medical transports for intoxication and risky behaviors. The goals of the program are:

  • Feel comfortable having one-on-one conversations with students
  • Learn how to make appropriate referrals
  • Know how to implement CAREfrontation strategies.
  • “Showing students we care is the essence of what we do,” stated trainer Jeff Novak.

    Many offices were involved in the development of this effort including; Housing and Residence Life, Student Conduct, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Wellness and Health Promotion Services, Student Rights and Responsibilities, Counseling Center, and more. Overwhelmingly, staff and students wanted to share the message of caring.

    “SDES strives to work collaboratively and cooperatively to build a community of success at UCF,” states Sarah Oleksy, team member. “By being active participants in the UCF C.A.R.E.S. initiative, we will be able to fulfill our purpose and create a truly caring community.”

    What’s next? SDES staff members have been identified to become official trainers. Once trained, they will be able to go out into the campus community to spread the message about UCF C.A.R.E.S. Students will also be invited to participate in training events in the coming semesters.

    Team member Belinda Boston said, “UCF C.A.R.E.S. can change the campus climate in a significant way. If each person embraces their role in this journey of CAREing just think of how we can impact the lives of our student across campus. We can all make a difference. This is everyone’s responsibility. We all have the opportunity to help a student and/or refer them to services directly.”

    UCF C.A.R.E.S. is asking you to care and be a part of this movement to make a change, make a difference.

    What can you do? Contact Jeff Novak at: [email protected] to schedule a training session for your office. Be a part of the UCF C.A.R.E.S. – I am UCF movement.