Red Watch Band (RWB) is a bystander intervention program that teaches students how to prevent toxic drinking deaths. After a doctor from the Stony Brook University Medical Center lost her son — a freshman at Northwestern University — to alcohol poisoning in 2008, she collaborated with Stony Brook’s then President Shirley Kenny to develop an intervention program. Select volunteers serve as CARE team members who continue the legacy with outreach and prevention, marketing and branding, and research and assessment. The group is managed by the Center for Prevention and Outreach (CPO).
“As a member of the Red Watch Band CARE Team for a second year, this award really means a lot to me,” said Jack Rogot ’19, a biomedical engineering major. “I believe it shows that the work we do is of the highest quality and impact, not only at Stony Brook, but across the country. I really believe in the mission of this organization, and I am so happy that we get to share it with students everywhere.”
Each year, the Community Youth Leadership Award recognizes “an outstanding leadership presence” by a teen, young adult, or youth group that “have been successful in identifying the negative consequences of chemical dependency through education, awareness and other activities.” CARON, which provides treatment centers to those suffering from addiction, has invited Red Watch Band to New York City for their annual Community Service Awards Breakfast on October 31st.
“They absolutely deserve it. They work tirelessly to keep their peers safe by conducting outreach all over campus and getting friends Red Watch Band trained,” said Kerri Mahoney, CPO Alcohol and Other Drugs Specialist.
The group has trained more than 7,000 students, and participation is only increasing. A few years ago, Mahoney said that there were only 200 students trained per semester. As of Spring 2017, there were over 1,000
students trained per semester, and their goal is to hit 10,000 by the end of the Fall 2018 semester.
“I was really excited because we all work incredibly hard behind the scenes to think of events that students would want to attend while always incorporating the messages of RWB,” said Lynn Jean-Louis ‘20, an applied mathematics and economics double major.
“It is great to see students being recognized for their hard work in spearheading Red Watch Band, and we hope to encourage more students to participate in our bystander intervention programs,” said Dr. Marisa Bisiani, who oversees Red Watch Band as Assistant Vice President of Student Health, Wellness and Prevention Services. “Bystander intervention provides options for students to help their friends in need. These programs teach students how to safely intervene and help maintain the mental and physical health of students so they can pursue their academic ambitions.”
In addition to Red Watch Band, Green Dot and Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) are both bystander intervention programs on campus. Green Dot teaches students to recognize potentially violent situations, and QPR teaches students to recognize suicidal behavior. If students have been trained in all three by the end of the fall semester of their senior year, they will receive a certificate and a cord for graduation at the Upstander Gala in the spring semester.
Tiffanie is a Social Media Assistant Intern at SUNY System Administration. She is a senior at SUNY Albany double-majoring in Psychology and Communications.