In an effort to create a safer environment at fraternity parties, the Interfraternity Council is implementing a program that will ensure that in four years every member in the IFC community will be a trained sober monitor.

Jason Mohr, IFC’s vice president of social responsibility, said the training — which is done in partnership with University Health Service — addresses crisis and conflict management and focuses on recognition of alcohol poisoning and the proper measures to take when it occurs.

Sober monitors are fraternity members who are required to remain sober at parties in case of an emergency.

Mohr, an LSA senior, said participants will learn about ethical decision making and how to be responsible partygoers, even if they’re not sober monitors that night.

“It really tries to attack a party from multiple different angles to give you the safest environment,” he said. “I think it’s going to revolutionize our community safety-wise.”

Ari Parritz, IFC’s president, said the IFC and UHS have been testing the program for a number of years and have arrived at the point where they believe they have found an effective method for training sober monitors.

“We have a formula that works really well,” he said. “One that the participants enjoy, but UHS feels confident that they actually know what they are talking about as soon as the training is done.”

The number of sober monitors present at each party is determined by the number of people in attendance and can range from five to 18.

Right now the training consists of one session, which Parritz said is very interactive and includes question-and-answer sessions and role-playing.

“They do that for a reason,” he said. “They know that at night they aren’t necessarily going to have the instant attention of 20 to 25 freshmen.”

Mohr said many sober monitors are often unclear on their duties, but he hopes that after the new training they’ll be more aware and responsible.

“Everything will be safer hopefully,” he said. “It allows our new members to be trained prior to actually working at an event. So, hypothetically, they should know everything and they’ll have the resources and knowledge and the confidence to step up when they see something wrong.”

Parritz said the IFC is very excited to get the program off the ground and see the good it will bring its community.

“It was started by the board before we came in, so we’ve inherited this project that was sort of in its infancy,” he said.

Mohr said he thinks the community will see the benefits of the program immediately.

“I’m just so excited to be able to go to an event and realize that these kids have been trained, they know what they’re doing, and I won’t have to worry as much,” he said.

Parritz said the IFC and UHS are also adding peer facilitators to the program, whose roles in the session would be to facilitate role-plays and other interactive portions of the session.

LSA sophomores Jacob Hattenbach and Jay Siegel, peer facilitators who participated in the training program last semester, said they both agreed with the message behind the program but felt they could improve the presentation.

“We aim to spread knowledge about its effects in order for students to respond to real life emergencies that they may confront at any given time,” Hattenbach wrote in an e-mail. “We believe that these alcohol awareness presentations need not be given solely by distant authority figures but also by students who have experienced these circumstances themselves.”

Daniel Kipper, president of Chi Phi fraternity, said he thinks the program will be effective in theory, but he’s skeptical that it will significantly change the environment at parties.

“I think it’s a good idea on paper,” Kipper, an Engineering junior said. “There’s no harm in having more training, but from a risk management and party running point of view, I don’t think it’ll have too much of an effect, which is normally where the main problems are.”

Jon Lindner, Delta Tau Delta’s president an attendee of the program last semester, said though some of the knowledge behind sober monitoring can be learned through first-hand experience, he feels the new training program will be beneficial.

“It couldn’t hurt,” he said. “It’s not boring, it’s fun, interactive and it doesn’t take very long.”

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