PSU SAFE sees success in educating new students about alcohol facts

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – This year, new Penn State students completed Penn State’s recently developed online education program, PSU SAFE (Student Alcohol Feedback and Education). Linda LaSalle, associate director for educational services at University Health Services, is pleased with the results.

“The implementation of the program went very smoothly,” LaSalle said. “The responses from students at all Penn State campuses, including University Park, were positive.”

While LaSalle will have additional data to share in the spring, she already has received promising feedback from students who have completed PSU SAFE, a two-part online instructional curriculum that helps first-year students understand the risks associated with excessive drinking.

According to LaSalle, more than 13,500 Penn State first-year students completed the first part of the program by Aug. 22, the first day of the University's fall semester classes. These students watched the overview video of PSU SAFE, read and explored the educational content including an alcohol use assessment, learned about Penn State community expectations -- laws and University rules and regulations -- and viewed a research-based prevention component of the program. Of that group, 86 percent reported that PSU SAFE helped them learn new information about high-risk drinking and 89 percent said it provided them with tips they will use to engage in low-risk alcohol use.

Additionally, 92 percent of students reported increased awareness of Pennsylvania laws related to alcohol and 94 percent reported that the program improved their understanding of Penn State alcohol policies and related consequences. On top of those figures, 80 percent of new Penn Staters who completed PSU SAFE reported that it helped them prepare for the transition into college.

University Health Services is working with John Hustad, an assistant professor in Penn State's College of Medicine, to conduct an evaluation of the program. Hustad is an expert in evaluating alcohol education programs for college students.

LaSalle said results from the second component of the program -- a follow-up alcohol use assessment that students complete 30 days after the start of classes -- and the evaluation study will be available in the 2012 spring semester.

For more information about PSU SAFE, please visit http://edge.psu.edu/firstyear/faq.shtml online.

 

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Last Updated October 17, 2011