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Alcohol Awareness creates campus <i>buzz</i>

Oct. 7, 2004

By Breana Krotz

Every fall students head to campus, either as a first-year Bobcat or a university veteran, ready to begin a new academic year. And, sometimes the buzz of fall quarter excitement can distract students, causing them to make poor decisions that can affect their college experience. However, thanks to a social marketing campaign, "Beyond the Buzz" sponsored by Ohio University's Health Education and Wellness Department, students may rethink their actions before making poor alcohol-related decisions.

With "Beyond the Buzz" posters circulating around campus and Alcohol Awareness Week scheduled for Oct. 11-15, the campaign is hoping to draw a connection between drinking and the negative consequences that can result.

An Ohio University Health and Wellness program, Bring Your Own Judgment (BYOJ), which produces the "Beyond the Buzz" campaign, has been alerting students about the risks of poor decision-making for the past seven years. The focus of the campaign is to generate awareness about alcohol consumption including the quantity and frequency of student's drinking habits.

"In the past we've covered other topics of concern, however this stage of the BYOJ campaign emphasizes the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption that students tend to forget or ignore," says Terry Koons, assistant director of substance abuse education. "Students don't always realize how serious some of the effects of excessive drinking can be."

Some consequences addressed by "Beyond the Buzz" include judicial or legal problems, sexual assault, unwanted pregnancy, social problems, academic problems, alcohol poisoning and even death.

"We're hoping the campaign really brings awareness to students about their levels of consumption," Koons says. "Most students drink out of Solo cups at parties, which are far larger than a tolerable level."

The "Beyond the Buzz" campaign went through six phases of development, involving as many as 400 students enrolled in various health education courses. This allowed the university to create a more realistic campaign that students will hear, says Koons.

The campaign sends messages such as, "Stop at the Buzz," "The Buzz Stops Here," "Beyond the Buzz" and "Buzz Kill." The messages are accompanied by photographs of university students pretending to engage in unhealthy behavior or situations that could take a downturn due to alcohol consumption. Ten different posters will be displayed around campus.

Promoting Ohio Wellness, Education and Responsibility (POWER), a student organization that serves as part of the Ohio University Health and Wellness program, will be actively involved in Alcohol Awareness Week, encouraging healthy living and responsible behavior.

"[Ohio University's] known to have a culture of students who come to us with established drinking habits. The BYOJ campaign is trying to change the social environment instead of feeding this behavior. We're encouraging students to reduce their alcohol consumption and 'Stop at the Buzz,'" Koons says.

Breana Krotz is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.

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