New Program Targets Alcohol-Related Perceptions

Posted: April 9, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Elena Barbre

With the goal of better preparing new students for their first year of college, the Center for the Advancement of Public Health (CAPH) has launched a pilot program that strives to correct students’ misperceptions about alcohol on college campuses and promote positive life health behaviors.

Healthy Expectations, a program created by CAPH director David Anderson and staff member Nancy Schulte, managed by CAPH program coordinator Jennifer Maltby, and funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, uses social norms marketing strategies in an attempt to change the culture of heavy drinking in the campus environment.

“The vast majority of drinking behavior is established before college. We’re not dealing with a blank slate,” says Anderson, who coauthored a book on life health planning that is being used by universities across the country. “We want to cap that drinking behavior and/or reduce it. We want to help students make the transition from high school seniors to college freshmen as safely and healthfully as possible.”

The program tackles this goal in two parts: it targets the widely held misperception that everyone at college drinks alcohol by sharing survey data with students and parents, and it helps students think more proactively about their health by conducting classroom presentations and small group discussions with high school students and college freshmen on themes ranging from values and self-care to relationships and community service.

For more information about the program, contact Maltby at x33697.

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