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U of M Receives NCAA Grant for Student Alcohol Education Program University News
For release: May 7, 2010

For press information, contact Dr. Marian Levy, 901-678-4514

A team of Tiger coaches and student athletes will be the new face of an alcohol education program at the University of Memphis that will use videos, social media, and print ads to spread the message.

The U of M has received a $30,000, three-year grant from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for a program to educate students about alcohol consumption.

The “True Blue Choices” campaign will be presented by the U of M’s Athletic Department in partnership with the School of Public Health, Student Health Services, Student Affairs, and Recruitment and Orientation Services. The goal of the program is to educate students about responsible drinking by changing the way they view alcohol use.

In general, surveys show college students think other students consume more alcohol than they actually do. As perceptions are corrected, levels of alcohol use are expected to decrease. “This is a great opportunity for the Athletic Department, Student Health, and Public Health to encourage vigorous lifestyles for the entire student population,” said Gail Lee, CHAMPS/life skills coordinator in Athletics.

Athletes will promote messages that de-emphasize the role of alcohol on campus life and lower students’ expectations about drinking. While the campaign is aimed at the entire student body, special emphasis will be on incoming freshmen.

The program will kick off with a video featuring men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner, to be shown to all freshmen at orientation. The Athletic Department will use a variety of other channels to get the message out, including skits performed by student athletes at Frosh Camp (a leadership program attended by 600 freshmen); campus-wide messages throughout the academic year on posters, print ads and yard signs; and electronic media messages (websites, Twitter and Facebook) from student athletes. Ads and promotions will also be featured at Homecoming and other selected athletic events.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to expand our social norms media campaign with the Athletic Department and their many talents,” said Jacque De Fouw, campus prevention specialist with Student Health Services.

“We look forward to partnering with Athletics and Student Health to advance the practice of social responsibility and healthy choices on campus,” added Dr. Marian Levy, associate professor and director of the Master of Public Health program.

The School of Public Health will coordinate the evaluation and develop a survey that can be completed with electronic clickers at Freshmen Orientation events. The Core Alcohol and Drug Survey will be administered by Student Health Services and will compare results with previous years’ findings.

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