Students 'Take the Lead' in campaign against unsafe drinking

Take the Lead, a new student-led campaign to promote responsible drinking at Penn State, launches this spring. The campaign features student leaders from the University Park Undergraduate Association, Rainbow Roundtable, Council of Commonwealth Student Governments, Council of Lionhearts, MGC, IFC, UPUA, ARHS and off-campus student union, among others. Each student offers advice on how Penn State students can learn to take the lead in their own behavior.

”Student leadership is a key component to dealing with alcohol-related issues on campus,” said Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs at Penn State. “The messages put forward by these student leaders speak to the unfortunate realities brought about by dangerous drinking that all of us, students and non-students alike, must change.

As part of the campaign, Allison Jones, a senior in Penn State's nursing program and president of Rainbow Roundtable, highlights the importance of seeking medical help for a friend who has passed out, while Christian Ragland, president of UPUA , expresses concern about alcohol-related sexual assaults on campus.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1,700 college students die each year from alcohol-related incidents. In the 2009-10 academic year, 683 students at University Park required medical attention at Mount Nittany Medical Center as a result of alcohol consumption, continuing an upward trend that has been observed over the past seven years. Also at University Park, the number of students missing classes, having difficulty concentrating and performing poorly on an assignment or test due to their alcohol use continues to increase, according to a Pulse student drinking survey taken in the spring semester of 2010.

The Take the Lead campaign includes a series of posters, Collegian and CATA bus ads, a magnet and other promotional items.

“Students are responding positively to the campaign materials based on preliminary findings from focus groups with a range of students," said Linda LaSalle, associate director for educational services at University Health Services. "We are excited to get the materials out on campus and hope to continue to work with future students leaders on the next iteration of the campaign.”

The Take the Lead campaign is funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in partnership with the Department of Health Promotion and Wellness at University Health Services. Additional information about the campaign is available by calling (814) 863-0461 or by sending an e-mail to promotinghealth@sa.psu.edu.

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Last Updated March 21, 2011