A message that sticks: College students fight binge drinking with football tailgate stickers
The following blog was authored by Sadie Schwarm, public relations student at the University of Alabama. Sadie serves as the LessThanUThink campaign's Director of Media Relations at the university's student-run PR firm, Capstone Agency.
How do you get an anti-binge drinking message to stick in the minds of our nation’s college students? One group of students took a more literal route.
Throughout football season, The University of Alabama LessThanUThink (LTUT) team holds “Rising Tide” tailgates to promote anti-binge drinking and encourage of-age students to be safe when consuming alcohol. During these tailgates, students mingle with other students over typical tailgate delicacies, but what’s unique about this particular tailgate is that when the conversations shift from how the Crimson Tide will perform that day, it usually turns to how of-age students can take steps to make sure they don’t over-consume alcohol and suffer the negative social and/or physical consequences that often follow. How do those students drum up that conversation? Through gameday stickers, of course.
The message on the stickers handed out for the SEC game against Florida was “It takes LessThanUThink to swamp the Gators.” Like in many college towns, students will find any way to display school pride. What better way than to use the LTUT slogan to remind students of the negative consequences of binge drinking? The fall LTUT campaign zones in on reaching students during college football season, when students are more likely to engage in risky behavior due to an increase in social events around gameday activities. The peer-to-peer interaction of the “Rising Tide” tailgates makes the stickers a “must have,” as well as a trend.
UA students at LTUT Rising Tide tailgate for the game against Florida. “It takes LessThanUThink to swamp the Gators”
The stickers are more impactful than repetitive (and ultimately ineffective) scare tactics students are numb to hearing from other anti-binge drinking campaigns. The goal is not to scold all acts of drinking to students age 21-and-up, as that is an unrealistic goal, but to help those students understand what it means to drink responsibly and ways to do so, while also working to eliminate the irresponsible, high-risk act of binge drinking.
The gameday stickers are an outlet for student expression, both for their team and to remind them that it takes LessThanUThink to binge drink and suffer physical and/or social consequences. These stickers of all sorts are an Alabama football tradition. Fans are known to wear a student organization or team pride sticker placed on their chest as they proudly find their way to Bryant-Denny Stadium. The LTUT gameday stickers are a great way to spread awareness for anti-binge drinking, and handing out stickers at tailgates on the quad is just one of the few ways the fall campaign reaches students.
Students can also follow the LessThanUThink campaign on Twitter and Instagram at @LTUThink.