Sober Sister Designated Driver Program for Sororities

Sober Sister Designated Driver Program

Sober Sister is a safe ride and responsible party program for sororities. The primary mission is to keep members safe, accountable, and connected to peers, regardless of an individual’s financial situation.

First year sorority members are a special focus because campus life is new, and many have not experienced underage party scenes or bars. Likewise, we don't want more senior members to pass down unsafe habits. Sober Sister is designed to ensure everyone who goes out has a support system to get home safe and a direct contact to call in an emergency.

How To Get Started

Step 1

The Wellness or Risk Officer of the Sorority House Consults With Think Twice About the Best Way To Launch Sober Sister

Not all sororities are the same. We can aspire to this blueprint, but it’s important to make the program fit within your house culture and consider any other unique factors related to your specific campus life.

Female friends cheering with beer at music festival

Step 2

Before a Group of Sisters Go Out Select One Volunteer To Remain Sober the Entire Time

Driving for this sister is optional. The primary responsibility is to keep track of everyone in the group. She will wear a Sober Sister pin/lanyard to remind the group who volunteered. If a member needs to go home early, the Sober Group Member (SGM) ensures a safe ride for her. During an emergency, the SGM is the best person to:

  • Make better decisions.
  • Respond to problems faster.
  • Provide a reliable witness statement.
  • Keep track of sisters.
  • Be a designated driver.
  • Report all sisters home safe.

Step 3

Additional Sober Sister(s) Volunteer To Be On-Call As Designated Drivers

These are sisters who want to stay home and do not have class responsibilities or an early morning work shift the next day.

  • Volunteers sign up for a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday shifts.
  • On-call from 7pm – 2am.
  • The number of passengers is restricted to available seat belts.
  • Request Uber rides if a vehicle can’t transport the entire group.
  • The designated driver uses a Think Twice Single-Use Breathalyzer to prove 0.00% breath-alcohol-content to their passengers.
  • The Lead Sober Sister Program Manager acts as a backup designated driver.
  • Leave no sister behind!

Step 4

Define a Point System for Volunteers

  • Earn 5 points as a Sober Group Member.
  • Earn 10 points for a designated driver shift.
  • Earn 10 points for being an SGM and designated driver in one night.
  • Lead Sober Sister Program Manager earns 100 points for her duties.
beautiful women clinking glasses in limousine

Step 5

Create an Incentive for All Members Who Qualify at the End of the Term/Semester

  • Have fun by throwing a party?
  • Enjoy a more exclusive dinner event?
  • Attend a concert as a group?
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Step 6

Secure a Budget Prior to Each Term/Semester For

  • Uber rides.
  • Gas reimbursement for designated drivers.
  • Sober Sister pins and lanyards.
  • Printing costs for program materials.
  • Think Twice Single-Use Breathalyzers.
  • End of term/semester incentive event.
Scenic Summer Drive. Mountain Road and Sunset Scenery From the Speeding Car. Scenic Road

Step 7

Make Policies Readily Available to All Members. Post Online and/or Print Them Out

  1. Scheduling should be added to the existing communication platform already used by the house. Other options with free calendar sharing are Gmail and Facebook.
  2. Create the calendar and schedule designated drivers prior to the start of the term/semester.
  3. Schedule designated drivers at least 24-hours before shift.
  4. SGMs and designated drivers must wear a Sober Sister pin/lanyard.
  5. SGMs and designated drivers must own a functional smartphone.
  6. Members should add all their sister’s contact info to personal mobile devices.
  7. All participants should have their mobile GPS tracking turned on (good idea to do this in general).
  8. The SGM can take a picture of the group at the end of the night and send to Lead Sober Sister Program Manager.
  9. All designated drivers must perform a breathalyzer test with the SGM. If the designated driver is also a SGM for the night, the breathalyzer test must be performed in front of a minimum of two members before operating a vehicle.
  10. Members must earn 100 points to qualify for end of term/semester incentive event.
  1. All members must volunteer for at least one designated driver shift per term/semester.
  2. If a member can’t drive or does not have access to a vehicle, they must volunteer to be a SGM at least twice per term/semester.
  3. If a designated driver unexpectedly can’t perform their duties that individual must find a replacement and immediately inform the Lead Sober Sister Program Manager.
  4. Only the Lead Sober Sister Program Manager can make updates to the calendar.
  5. The SGM can decide to end the night for the group. They can cut-off alcohol service to any member.
  6. Any group member can ask their SGM to take a breathalyzer test if they are concerned.
  7. If the SGM or designated driver are unable to prove 0.00% breath-alcohol-content they will be required to speak with the Lead Sober Sister Program Manager.
  8. Designated drivers should only take members HOME. If the driver is willing to stop for food, that is totally up to them and they should not be paying for anything. Buy your DD a samich!
Four Young Female Friends Meeting For Drinks And Food Making A Toast In Restaurant

Best Practices

  1. Universal battery packs extend the life of a smartphone. Buy a few that can be checked out by each SGM and returned at the end of the night.
  2. All officers of the house should help the Lead Sober Sister Program Manager with the backup designated driver responsibility. We don't want one officer to be on call throughout the entire school year.
  3. For sisters who do not live in the house, it is a good idea to add their address to their contact information, and any other shared database used by the house, prior to going out.
  4. The responsibilities should not be class based, nor should any non-initiate member volunteer to be an SGM or Designated Driver. Everyone shares this responsibility, from seniors to freshmen, but a specific group should not be expected to “serve” anyone. (a form of hazing is servitude.)
  5. Not every group member is going to listen to SGMs when it’s time to go home. No sister left behind is important, but if a group member refuses to listen, take note of where they are and the time so the Lead Sober Sister Program Manager can be aware of the situation.

Drinking Habits

0%

Of high-school seniors drank alcohol in the last 30 days

0%

Of high-school seniors say they've had five or more drinks in a row in the last 30 days

0%

Of college students say they've had five or more drinks in a row in the last 30 days

0%

Of college students dont' drink

0%

Estimate given by college students of peers who don't drink

The Sober Sister Program

Does not condone alcohol consumption, but the binge-drinking rate for college students has remained above 40% for decades, despite millions spent on research, task forces, awareness campaigns, and policy reforms. Dozens of studies show exactly how, when, where, and why students drink, and the U.S. Department of Education established the Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Use and Violence Prevention to provide research, training, and technical assistance.

Despite all that, the Greek system is still infused with booze and every year a few students are sacrificed at the Rush altar of binge drinking and debauchery. 1,000 – 2,000 students die every year of alcohol-related causes, another 600,000 are injured while drunk, and nearly 100,000 become victims of alcohol influenced sexual assaults. One in four students say their academic performance suffered from drinking according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Yet Many Colleges Still Look the Other Way

When it comes to regulating football tailgates and underage parties, higher education administrators fear the loss of alumni donations if alcohol-soaked traditions are challenged. Bar owners and alcohol distributors oppose all legislative efforts to reform alcohol service and are even pushing for extended alcohol serving hours in a few states. Politicians and licensing agencies are addicted to tax revenue from alcohol sales and are beholden to alcohol industry lobbyists, which represent some of the largest public companies in the entire world according to Forbes.

It’s a culture problem and zero tolerance policies for students do not work. Sober Sister can’t change the world alone, but we can make your sorority house safer and more accountable.

SOURCES

  1. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “A Matter of Degree: Reducing High-Risk Drinking Among College Students.” March 23, 2009.
  2. “Enforcing Alcohol Policies on College Campuses: Reports from College Enforcement Officials,” Journal of Drug Education (2011)
  3. S. Department of Education, Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Use and Violence Prevention.
  4. “Implementation of NIAAA College Drinking Task-Force Recommendations: How Are Colleges Doing 6 Years Later?,”
  5. National College Health Improvement Program’s “Learning Collaborative on High-Risk Drinking.”
  6. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (October 2010)