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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Colleges have been concerned about student drinking for years, but this month, the University of Minnesota is trying a new approach, with an in-your face awareness campaign spread all over campus trying to get friends of drinkers to step up.
The “Step Up” posters are plastered all over campus.
Mixed in with band flyers and apartment ads, they caught U of M student Kristina Bont’s attention.
“Actually, in one of my classes, a girl that I sit next to is analyzing them for a persuasion campaign,” she said. “She concluded that they are pretty persuasive.”
The goal is to communicate in places – and in a style — the students will notice. The bold messages address student drinking, but in a different way, challenging peers to step up and step in.
“The peer to peer messages,” said Jerry Reinhart, Vice Provost for Student Affairs. ”One student voice hearing another student is much more affecting than some old geezer, like m,e talking to a student about what they should or shouldn’t do.”
Besides the posters, there are tabletops for dining halls and bars. They may even post posters in bathrooms — anywhere to catch the eyes of the students.
“Students make their own decisions,” said Vice Provost Reinhart. “We just got to help give them tools and information to help them, hopefully, make better decisions.”
It’s no coincidence that they launched this awareness campaign in March, with spring break looming. Now, the question is whether the students will pay attention.
For some, it’s redundant.
“They show these in high school,” said student Darya Antanovich. “It’s just that these posters are everywhere. It’s not something I’ve never seen before. It wouldn’t grab my attention at all.”
For others, it doesn’t hurt.
“With the amount of bad decisions made involving drinking,” said student Ajaj Chamon. “Something like this is probably a good idea. Probably needs to happen around campus.”
This is the second month of a 3-month-long awareness campaigns. Last month, they focused on personal security and the next month’s subject is sexual violence.