Posters aim to raise awareness

By Nicole Osuch
October 27, 2006

Health and wellness education, health services and counseling services at Cabrini College have posted statistics of alcohol and drug use at Cabrini College on signs around campus. The marketing strategy is being used by hundreds of colleges and universities across the nation to help change student’s perceptions of the drinking and drug use of their peers.

The signs that are posted around Cabrini College say that most Cabrini College students drink responsibly and that 96 percent of Cabrini students used one or more of the following protective behaviors when drinking alcohol during the last school year. The sign then lists 10 protective behaviors such as using a designated driver or pacing drinks to one or fewer an hour.

“Anytime a solution for a problem or concern is presented, that’s a helpful thing. I think that the signs offer students many realistic options and are a wonderful thing and a proactive response. It’s great that the signs explain to students that their peers can and often do make good choices,” Aliza Greenberg, the area coordinator for Xavier, Woodcrest, and Rooymans said.

Christine Hyson, the director of health and wellness education explained that the research is “based on facts instead of misconceptions of what students think is going on in their environment.” The research found that a much lower percentage of students participate in negative behavior, such as drinking in excess and doing drugs, than students perceive.

The signs are a mass marketing strategy to influence possible behavior change. As a result of highlighting the positive, Hyson hopes to reverse the perception students have of what their peer’s actual alcohol and drug behaviors look like and then maybe positively influence their habits.

During February and March, over a six week period of time, Cabrini conducted a social norms marketing campaign. An e-mail was sent out to all approximately 1,400 undergraduate students asking them about their alcohol and drug use. The statistics were then comprised of the 438 students that responded to the survey.

The statistics are posted around the campus, not only on signs, but on pens, water bottles and the centerpieces of tables at The Marketplace and Jazzman’s Caf

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Nicole Osuch

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