Culture of Care

Have the courage to care

Culture of Care is a student-led, staff-supported initiative designed to foster Hoosier-to-Hoosier care in the areas of sexual well-being, drug and alcohol awareness, mental health, and respect.

Culture of Care is not about meetings, talks, or events, it’s about spreading compassion and promoting a culture of awareness and courage while redefining what it means to be a “Hoosier."

Get involved

Join Culture of Care. Email to learn more.

Focus areas

The Culture of Care initiative promotes helping one another, behavioral change, and raising awareness in four core areas: sexual well-being, mental health, alcohol & drug awareness, and respect. We strive for Hoosiers to recognize that these aspects of our lives impact us and our community.

If you think a friend has a serious problem with drugs or alcohol, step up and have the Courage to Care.

What we know

Excessive alcohol use, underage drinking, and binge drinking can lead to increased risk of health problems such as injuries, violence, liver diseases, and cancer.

  • 66% of college students drink more than 5 drinks per sitting.
  • 15% of college students used prescription pain killers, sedatives, or stimulants not prescribed to them.
  • $5.5 billion was spent last year on alcohol by college students. That's more than they spent on soft drinks, milk, juice, tea, coffee, and textbooks combined.
  • 72% of IU students think that something should be done when someone is abusing drugs.
  • 66% of students have witnessed an emergency situation involving drinking.

What can we do...

  • Before the party starts
    • Encourage your friends to do something other than attend a party and drink alcohol for at least part of the night.
    • Make sure that you and your friend have something to eat before you go out.
    • If a friend is trying to avoid drinking, hang out with them to show your support.
    • Make a pact with your friends to drink less if you decide to attend a party with alcohol.
  • At the party
    • Alternate drinking water and alcohol. You will still have a good time, and you will be able to pay better attention to your friends and how they are acting.
  • When the party doesn’t stop
    It’s difficult to distinguish a serious drug or alcohol problem from recreational use. It’s even harder to muster up the courage to have a conversation with a friend engaged in drug or alcohol use. If a friend or fellow Hoosier displays three or more of the following indications below, they may need your help.
    • Increased tolerance
    • Attempting to reduce use, but being unable to do so
    • Defensiveness when asked about drug use
    • Continued drinking or using despite concern expressed by others or by campus and legal consequences
    • Changes in behaviors like missing classes or work, lying, sudden hostility, and aggression
    • Changes in appearance like sudden weight loss or rapid weight gain
    • Noticeable social isolation
    • Possession of pills, missing medications, or stolen property

Take action

It’s common to hear, “College is supposed to be like this—drinking and partying and experimenting,” but when the party becomes the problem, someone has to step up. One small mistake can have a major impact.

  • Encourage your friends to do something other than attend a party and drink alcohol.
  • If a friend is trying to avoid drinking, hang out with them to show your support.
  • Talk to your friend if you are concerned about their regular or risky alcohol or drug use.
  • Contact Substance Use Intervention Services or Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) if you want tips on how to have that conversation.

It is difficult to tell if a friend or fellow Hoosier is struggling with severe stress or a mental illness. Signs and symptoms are rarely clear-cut.

What we know

  • 31% of college students felt “so depressed it was difficult to function
  • 51% of college students felt overwhelming anxiety
  • 1 in 10 college students were diagnosed with depression
  • 6% of college students seriously considered suicide

What can we do

Trust your gut. Watch out for changes in:

  • Sleep
  • Mood (feeling sad, anxious, irritable)
  • Appetite, eating habits, or weight
  • Energy level
  • Interest or motivation
  • Performance or participation in school, work, chapter activities, or relationships
  • Body image

Other signs of a potential problem include:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs paired with an increased tolerance
  • Unhealthy or excessive exercise
  • Vomiting after eating
  • Arguments, fights, unusual or exaggerated reactions to events or people
  • Self-injury like intentionally cutting, burning, bruising, or punching one’s self
  • Thoughts, comments, or writings about death or suicide

Take action

Your intuition is usually correct. If your friend is displaying any signs or symptoms of a potential problem, have the Courage to Care and step up. The more signs you observe, the more serious the problem could be. Try:

  • Starting a conversation with your friend about your concerns and willingness to help.
  • Stating the symptoms that you’ve noticed using ‘I’ statements—“I’ve noticed…”
  • Asking thoughtful questions.
  • Encouraging your friend to connect with campus and community resources for help from professionals.

Say things like…

  • “I noticed you haven’t been going to class this week, and you’ve been having trouble sleeping too.”
  • “So, when I saw those things, I started wondering how you’re doing. How are you doing?”
  • “Sometimes when people are feeling really bad, they have thoughts about death or suicide. Have you had any of these thoughts?”
  • “Have you heard of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)? The counselors there can help you identify some ways to feel better and get back on track. How about making a free appointment? I can even walk with you to the appointment, if you want me to.”
  • "Maybe this is something that shouldn’t wait. How about if I walk with you to the crisis walk-in counseling at CAPS?”

If you aren't sure about what to say or how to start the conversation, counselors are available through CAPS at 812-855-5711 to help talk you through what you might say or what you can do. Do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 in case of an emergency!

Culture of Care is a community grounded in the principle of respect. We have chosen to take an active interest in the well-being of each member of our community and focus our efforts on the issues of discrimination and hazing among the IU student body. We believe one person cannot show care towards another without first respecting that person and themselves. Help us preserve the dignity of our community members by honoring and seeking to understand our differences.

What we know at IU

  • 66% of IU students think if someone had stepped up and intervened when they saw someone being mistreated or harassed, a negative situation or outcome could have been avoided.
  • 73% of IU students think that something should be done when someone is mistreated or harassed.
  • 86 incidents involving discriminatory action based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation were reported to the IU bias incident teams.

What can we do

The best way to end hazing and discrimination is with prevention and education.

Take action

If you witness hazing or an act of discrimination:

  • Say something. Tell them that you don’t agree with what they are doing. Sometimes it can be as simple as vocalizing your concerns.
  • Ask someone you trust if you aren’t sure if the situation is serious or should be reported.
  • Ask what is going on or contact someone in authority.
  • Seek out support as soon as possible. These types of incidents can escalate quickly.
  • File an anonymous incident report by contacting:

Hooking up and having intimate relationships are common in college.

However, without consent from both individuals, hooking up can lead to some serious problems. Many of the downsides can be avoided by practicing safer, consensual sexual activity and by encouraging Hoosiers to do the same.

What we know

  • 90% have had sexual partners and 84% have had vaginal intercourse.
  • Among students who are engaging in sex, 46% of students stated that their last sexual partner was someone they were committed to and 46% stated that it was a casual encounter.
  • 52% used a condom during their most recent sexual encounter.
  • 26% have been tested for an STI and 20% have been tested for HIV.

What can we do

  • Talk about sex! Research tells us that if you talk with your partner openly about sex, you’re more likely to use contraception and avoid an STI or unplanned pregnancy.
  • Keep talking. Tell your partner what you feel comfortable doing, what you like, and what you don’t. You’ll both have a better time and avoid crossing boundaries.
  • Be assertive. When you are talking with your partner about using a condom, be assertive. Your partner will be more likely to use a condom. Don’t be afraid to insist that your partner or your friends use condoms.
  • Get consent. Consent to sexual activity must be mutually agreeable and affirmative through voluntary words or actions. If you aren’t sure if you have consent, just ask. Remember—good sex is consensual sex.
  • Get tested. There are over 19 million new cases of STIs every year in the United States. Nearly half of these new cases occur among people ages 15–24. Encourage your friends to get tested for STIs at the IU Student Health Center. Also, the IU LGBTQ+ Culture Center offers free HIV testing.