Harnessing the power of peers to change campus culture
At The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, we believe that high-risk drinking on college campuses is a serious issue and has got to stop. We also know that the best way to reduce and ultimately eliminate high risk drinking is to adopt a comprehensive approach which allows all the stakeholders to be involved in changing the campus’ culture. Most importantly, we believe that student led campaigns should be part of the solution, as students have better insights on what messages work and which initiatives don’t work with their peers.
We applaud the efforts of Washington State University and the University of Idaho as they create task forces to discover innovative methods to combat alcohol abuse on campus. We also are glad to see that they are not limiting their efforts to lectures but are also encouraging their students to be actively involved in finding a solution.
In 2011, The George Washington University implemented the You know, Be There campaign on their campus. It was a student led campaign focused on freshmen students, based on the concept of empowering students to intervene when their friends engage in risky behavior. The campaign leveraged the strength of already established college friendships to combat the dangerous over consumption of alcohol by college students.
Post-campaign research showed that 49% of freshmen students ended the night earlier to avoid overconsumption, 46% took cash from the ATM for a cab ride back home and 40% packed a lot of water to stay hydrated as a result of the campaign.
We believe this student- led campaign ties in well with WSU and the University of Idaho’s efforts. We hope that WSU and the University of Idaho are successful in their efforts to curb high risk drinking on their respective campuses. It’s regrettable that a tragedy had to occur for action to be taken, but we know that any effort will work towards making sure that students’ lives are no longer at risk.
Download the full report for the You Know, Be There campaign here.