UW-Stout Smart+Healthy Campaigns
During the 2007-08 academic year, nationally recognized alcohol prevention specialist, Dan Rielly, spoke about social norming campaigns which encourage behavior change by drawing attention to the gap that exists between what students perceive and their actual behavior. Research has shown that people tend to overestimate the unhealthy choices that others make and underestimate the positive choices. Social norming campaigns attempt to align perceptions with reality by bringing to light the gaps that exist and pointing out that a majority of students already make smart and healthy choices. This understanding changes students' expectations for what actions it takes to "fit in." Rielly showed examples of his Smart+Healthy posters addressing broad wellness topics including underage and problem alcohol use; furthermore, he backed up the approach with evidence of perception and behavior change and encouraged the audience to "borrow" the concept including the "smart+healthy" phrasing.
Following this introduction, a sub-committee of the Chancellor's Coalition on Alcohol and Drugs developed the concept and identified appropriate Stout statistics based primarily on the bi-annual UW-System Alcohol and Drug Use Survey that fell within challenge and believability ranges as well as subject material that could be addressed.Primary goals of social norming campaign were to:
- Reduce the number of drinks consumed in a week
- Reduce the number of drinks consumed per occasion
- Increase protective behaviors such as keeping track of drinks, setting limits, etc
- Increase assistance for a friend or acquaintance in need
"Average" students—the top of the bell curve and 1 standard deviation out on each side with the idea being to move this large middle demographic toward lower risk drinking behaviors.
In the first year, most statistics used came from the bi-annual UW-System Alcohol and Drug Use Survey. Additional data has also been used from a variety of campus sources. Smart+Healthy became a unified and consistent campus message among campus stakeholders when the campaign began in Fall semester 2008.
Student graphic designers from Housing Design developed the Smart+Healthy identifier and all of the subsequent poster series and campaign materials. Click on the buttons above to learn more about each specific campaign including information about the artist. Please note that while we encourage the borrowing of these ideas and even phrases for your own campaigns, the artwork and design is original. Please request use if posting to a large population. We want to consider where and how they are being used and most importantly, give our student designers credit. Most requests are approved. Contact Housing Design at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did these campaigns work to change perceptions and behavior?
We believe there are encouraging signs, but a lot is happening to address alcohol issues at UW-Stout. The layered consistent messages throughout the residence halls and from the campus and community initiatives likely contribute to the positive perception and behavior changes we've seen. Plus, time matters. It can takes years for messages to saturate into your student population and culture.
Review specific social norming assessment details at the Smart+Healthy Evaluations and Reports on the Counseling Center's Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention website.
You can also review other UW- Stout alcohol initiatives through this link.