March 3, 2006
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456, firstname.lastname@example.org,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138, email@example.com
California State University, Bakersfield is set to launch a yearlong media advocacy campaign aimed at decreasing alcohol-related misconduct by CSUB students. The "Don't get Lost" campaign will kickoff Wednesday, March 8, in Runner Park at 10 a.m. on the CSUB campus.
The campaign will include a series of public service announcements aimed at increasing student knowledge and options when it comes to alcohol. The first installment, a radio spot, targets spring break.
"There is this traditional perception that spring break is party time," said Erika Delamar, co-chair of CSUB's alcohol and drug education committee. "We just want everyone to know that if you are 21 and older and do drink, you can do it in a responsible manner."
Delamar said national studies report that about 1,400 college students between the ages of 18-24 die each year from alcohol-related causes and 159,000 first-year students will drop out due to alcohol use.
Delamar and other members of the committee will have an outreach booth with information and "safe spring break" bags to handout to students that day. The bags contain everything from a blood alcohol content chart and sunscreen to California maps and date rape drug detector kits. The committee will also be holding a student competition for the creation of the next two psa's, one radio spot and one TV spot. Entry forms will be available at the outreach booth and prizes will be awarded to top finalists.
In addition radio station Hot 94.1 KISV-FM will be broadcasting live from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and handing out free prizes to students to help promote awareness.
The program is part of the $750,000 CSU Alcohol and Traffic Safety two-year grant given to 10 CSU campuses last year. CSUB received nearly $43,000.
"We have been working since 2001 to increase awareness," said LaShawn Barefield, CSUB chair of the alcohol and drug education committee. "Through our program we try to reduce underage drinking and offer alternatives to drinking."
The CSU Alcohol and Traffic Safety (CSU ATS) program was funded as part of $74.2 million in traffic safety funds awarded to 277 California state departments and communities that are committed to improved traffic safety.
"This program works to change an environment from one where binge drinking is socially acceptable to one that encourages more responsible behavior," said Sunne Wright McPeak, secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, which administered the funds through the Office of Traffic Safety. "The end result will be increased awareness which translates into lives saved."
Headquarters for the CSU program is at Fresno State, administered through the Division of Student Affairs. The 10 participating campuses are Bakersfield, Chico, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Pomona, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, San Marcos, Sonoma, and Stanislaus.
The CSUB committee has already been working to develop outreach programs for students, including the annual Oksoberfest event and participating in collegiate alcohol-awareness programs. Barefield said data is currently being processed from a 400-student survey that was conducted over a three-month period. The survey will reveal drinking behaviors and patterns of CSUB students. The results are expected within the month.
Specifically, the grant's key goals are:
- To reduce the incidence of driving after consuming alcohol by 18-25 year-old CSU students.
- Reduce alcohol-related misconduct by CSU students – both by 5 percent by Dec. 30.
The program's objectives include:
- To improve and/or develop partnerships with law enforcement to accomplish goals such as increasing DUI checkpoints, and campus policy enforcement.
- To work with each campus to identify strategies to reduce availability and accessibility of alcohol, particularly to minors.
- To work with media throughout the state and at each campus to publicize the funding of the project, keep the public informed of its intent and progress, and to inform the general public about other alcohol related items and events.
Office of Traffic Safety data shows that fatalities in alcohol-involved collisions increased 8.3 percent – up from 1,308 in 2001 to 1,416 in 2002. Since 1998, California has experienced a 32 percent increase in persons killed in alcohol-involved collisions, according to the Office of Traffic Safety. However, in Office of Traffic Safety grant-funded cities, alcohol-involved fatal and injury collisions decreased 26.3 percent. In 2003, 1,445 people were killed and 31,337 injured in alcohol-related crashes in California – the fifth consecutive year of increases in alcohol-related fatalities after more than a decade of decline.
For more information about the program, please contact Delamar at (661) 654-3453 or Barefield at (661) 654-3366.