This paper describes a virtual environment, called CollegeLiVE that presents users with an experience centered on realistic social interactions that first-year college students likely encounter. The virtual characters and settings present participants with typical situations that can challenge them to address peer pressure surrounding alcohol consumption and related situations from walking or driving while inebriated as well as determining how best to handle undue pressure placed on others to drink or engage in sexual activity. The employment of digital puppeteering in addition to agent-based control of virtual characters (avatars) makes this virtual environment potentially helpful in enhancing protective skills meant to reduce risky drinking practices and associated behaviors. The presence of a human-in-the-loop avoids the shortcomings of pure agent-based control, affording an experience in which avatars respond appropriately to both verbal and nonverbal cues in dialogues with a user. Reflection (self assessment of how one handled different situations) and after-action review (feedback about one's performance from a coach) enhances learning from the experience.