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Spring campaign to promote safe drinking practices

by Karen A. Grava - March 16, 2009

Remember Last Night, a campaign originated by UConn students to reduce college students’ episodic heavy-drinking behavior, will begin this spring with a contest to develop videos and slogans for the campaign.

The campaign, funded with a two year, $273,923 grant from the U.S. Department of Education, seeks to moderate the drinking behavior of UConn students and devotes special attention to alcohol-use safety.

Last year’s campaign evaluation showed that 11.3 percent of students reported a decrease of alcohol use during Spring Weekend, owing to their awareness of the campaign, says Carolyn Lin, professor and head of the communications program in the Department of Communication Sciences of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

This year, the campaign will include a campus-wide contest inviting students to submit campaign slogan ideas and YouTube-style videos (for details, see www.rememberlastnight.uconn.edu).

The Remember Last Night campaign is designed to prompt students to think about how and what they remember about their behavior last night (or at the last social event they attended), Lin says.

“We are asking students to recognize and evaluate their own behavior. Our message challenges and empowers them to aim for coming home safe and creating good memories of their college years.”

The campaign web site contains a number of campaign posters and public service announcements, in addition to a blog, a Facebook page, resources on safe drinking tips, party smart skills, student support services, and other information such as how to judge the alcohol content of a drink, assess one’s blood alcohol level, measure one’s alcohol tolerance, detect the signs of alcohol poisoning, and assist someone who might have alcohol poisoning.

The theme of this year’s contest is How Do You Remember Last Night?

“It invites students to contribute their own slogan ideas and video stories to help promote a healthy social norm that aims at safe drinking practices and a safe campus environment for their college experience at UConn,” says Lin, the campaign project director.

Lin is also the principal investigator of the larger research project associated with the campaign – Reducing College Student High-Risk Drinking Behavior via a Comprehensive Prevention Program, Norms Campaign, and Community Partnership Strategy.

Lin has shared the project results with other colleges, and recently presented a paper about the results at the 2008 National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media (sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the International Communication Association.

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