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Courage to care message tonight at Troy State

In 1990, Carolyn Cornelison called a college friend with the tragic news of a drunk-driving accident involving a fellow sorority sister. The response was "Oh, Carolyn, we always thought it would be you."

The comment from her sorority sister caught Cornelison completely off guard. She realized that her friends knew she had a problem with alcohol, but no one had ever confronted her with it.

Cornelison now takes her "Courage to Care" message to colleges and universities across the county to help educate students about the warning signs of out-of-control drinking and how to help friends with alcohol problems.

Cornelison will bring her "Courage to Care" message to Troy State University at 7:30 p.m. today at the Claudia Crosby Theater. The event is being sponsored by Horn Beverage Company of Brundidge, the local Anheuser-Busch wholesaler.

"We are very pleased to bring Carol's important message to Troy State University," said Emily Dorsey, Horn Beverage representative. "Her program promotes a realistic look at college drinking, taking responsibility and recognizing abuse."

Dorsey said through stories of Cornelison's college experiences and friendship, she relates her tree keys to caring.

"Carol's three key to caring are knowledge, sensitivity and courage," she said. "College students need to understand the signs of out-of-control behaviors and know what to do about them. They need to be aware of these behaviors in others - and themselves. And, they should be willing to take steps to help someone who has a problem with alcohol."

Dorsey said according to recent data from the Core Institute at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, the majority of students are doing the right thing.

"According to the data 76 percent of college students are moderate, infrequent drinkers or non-drinkers," she said. "What Carol does is give students the information they need to identify that minority of their friends who may have a problem with alcohol and to get them the help they need."

Dorsey said Cornelison has participated in awareness programs for college fraternities and sororities, athletic departments and other college organizations at more than 150 campuses nationwide.

She holds a Ph.D. from Florida State University where she worked as director of the Campus and Alcohol and Drug information Center for four years.