Safe Spring Break
Student Health Services
P.O. Box 344054
Clemson, S.C. 29634-4054
SAFE SPRING BREAK
NEED FOR THE PROJECT
Clemson University (CU) is located in rural upstate South Carolina. The student population totals 16,876 of which 13,734 are undergraduates and 3,142 are graduate students. Approximately one-half of the student body is below the age of twenty-one, and 6,700 live on campus. Most students who live off campus live in close proximity to the university.
In 2000, CU became aware that underage and high-risk drinking was occurring at levels well above national averages. Surveys showed an upward trend in alcohol use and negative impacts on the health, safety and academic performance of CU students.
Concerns for the well-being and achievement of students prompted a comprehensive strategy and prevention programs. These programs included stakeholders in the CU family and started with the formation of the Alcohol and Other Drug Task Force (AODTF) in 2001. Strong leadership and support of the CU president resulted in changes at the environmental, cultural, and intervention levels. Results of the 2005 Core Survey reveal a significant decline in both alcohol consumption and problematic impacts associated with high risk drinking.
The program is still significant, however, and the University is doing its best to meet the challenge. While the professionals help us through programming and education initiatives, students need to step up and play a greater role. Peer involvement has proven to be one of the most effective means of reaching students who engage in high risk drinking on college campuses. That’s where we come in, the Peer Health Educators, a group of student volunteers working with the Health Promotion department within the Student Health Services.
But what happens when students leave campus? Many drive to a ‘party environment.’ What about when students drive home for Spring Break? Drinking and driving is dangerous for everyone and I, and Peer Health Educators, plan to work with the Health Promotion department to address this ongoing problem.
The Safe Spring Break project is designed to raise awareness about the dangers and consequences of drinking alcohol and driving among students who drive home during Spring Break at Clemson University. Every year the Health Promotion department and the Peer Health Educator do what they can to alert students to the danger of drinking while driving. This year we plan to be more aggressive and broaden the message beyond just alcohol safety. Driving habits, road etiquette, and the physical condition of the car are also important.
This project is part of the University’s ongoing effort to address impaired driving due to alcohol use by Clemson students. We will use strategies that have been shown to work. We will follow guidelines from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). These include:
• Challenging student expectations relating to the affects of alcohol use
• Marketing campaign to correct student misperception about alcohol use
• Providing safe ride programs
Our goals are simple in keeping with the very focused mission of the project. With funds from the Plum Grant, the Peer Educators will:
• Handout 500 Safe Ride flyers and 500 Pledge cards to students leaving for Spring Break;
• Distribute 500 bottles of drinking water with awareness messages on the label; and
• Increase awareness of the danger of drinking and driving by having at least 100 students try to Walk-the-Line while wearing the Fatal Vision goggles.
Bottled-Water with Safety Message
The Peer Educators will give out 500 Safe Ride flyers and 500 bottle waters with a safety message on the label. Here is the message we plan to use:
“If you drink while driving, make it water!”
In addition, 500 pledge cards will be given out at the same time. These are cards given to students who promise not to drink alcohol while they drive and to drive safely.
Five hundred bottles of water are not enough for every student who will travel home by car during Spring Break. However, we hope the publicity generated by the program will increase alcohol safety awareness for all students.
Safe Spring Break Flyer
A flyer will be designed by the Peer Health Educators with support and advice from the Health Promotion department staff. This flyer will emphasize:
• The dangers of driving alcohol while driving
• The potential consequences of drinking while driving
• Planning your break
• Predatory drug information
• Safe driving practices
• Driving etiquette
• Fuel conservation strategies
• Safe car self-inspection
The potential consequences will include not only the health and safety consequences, but the legal and academic consequences both in the near-term, and what it might mean to their future.
Students will be invited to a pre-Spring Break Send-off manned by Peer Health Educators and staff of the Health Promotion department. Students will be encouraged to try on the Fatal Vision goggles and try to walk a straight line.
A brochure on alcohol safety from the Health Promotion department will reinforce the safety message presented by the volunteers as part of the interchange with students during the walking-the-line challenge.
Any student can take a bus provided by CU to most destinations in and around the University. This is an award winning program.
It’s nice to do all sorts of activities designed to help our fellow students, but how do we know our efforts are successful? There are a million things we can do to help so we need a way to determine if our efforts are effective. That’s why a simple but logical project evaluation is important.
The Safe Spring Break project will be evaluated when students return from vacation. We will send an email to all students asking if they were aware of the project before they left campus and if it influenced their decisions and/or behavior regarding alcohol, safe driving practices, car safety, fuel conservation, and more.
The information gathered by the Peer Health Educators will be evaluated using statistical methods with the Health Promotion staff. Results will be used to improve future programming.
The budget for this project is very straightforward. Most of the cost of the project will be borne by the Health Promotion department and the volunteer efforts of the Peer Health Educators. Ms. Parvin Lewis, the Director of the department, will administrate the budget.
Bottle Water with Message 400.00
Pledge cards 50.00