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2018 NCAA CHOICES grant program selects winners

Here are the 2018 winning institutions and their project abstracts that they will use as a guide when developing their projects:

University of Alaska Fairbanks (Division II; Great Northwest Athletic Conference)

The University of Alaska Fairbanks strives to reduce high-risk drinking behaviors, such as binge drinking, shots, pre-gaming and the negative effects these behaviors have on college students’ social and academic success. Through the Nanook Choices: Developing Healthy Leaders program, UAF aims to (1) reduce unhealthy, high-risk drinking related behaviors; (2) engage campus athletes as leaders in promoting health and wellness; (3) use an effective social norms campaign to correct misconceptions about the effects of alcohol and frequency of student consumption; and (4) promote responsible drinking behaviors among students who are turning 21 and provide them strategies to celebrate safely.

Assessment data collected during the project will continue to inform the evidence-based practice promoting healthy choices by students. Annual implementation of the CORE Institute Survey annually will provide current information on behaviors and attitudes, and quantify cultural shifts at UAF. The surveys, evaluations, and the collaboration with the Student-Athlete Advisory Council will provide a narrative to use in promoting wellness specific to the campus. The narrative will be crucial to expanding the program in the future and creating campus partners.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has an enrollment of 6,076 students and 87.6 percent are undergraduate students (5,323). UAF is an NCAA Division II school and has 10 athletic teams. There are approximately 140 student-athletes. UAF is a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (Division II), Central Collegiate Ski Association (multi-divisional), Pacific Collegiate Swim and Dive Conference (Division II), Patriot Rifle Conference (multi-divisional) and Western Collegiate Hockey Association (Division I).

American International College (Division II; Northeast-10 Conference)

American International College is a private, co-educational four-year liberal arts college located in Springfield’s urban center. Founded in 1885 to educate newcomers to the United States and their children for citizenship and success, AIC today serves an extremely diverse and vibrant student body. In fall 2017, AIC’s total enrollment was 3,183 for all degree programs; of this number, 1,336 are undergraduates (1,254 full-time and 82 part-time). More than half of AIC’s undergraduates reside on campus; 550 are student-athletes playing on 26 athletic teams plus a cheer team. AIC undergraduates are 50 percent nonwhite, 54 percent are Pell grant recipients and 95 percent receive some form of institutional aid to attend college. A full 45 percent of AIC undergrads are first-generation college students. AIC actively recruits and enrolls students who likely would not otherwise have considered applying to or attending a private, four-year liberal arts college.

In addition to being inclusive and accessible to applicants, AIC is committed to investing in student support aimed at retaining students and helping them to succeed in college. By helping students get the most out of their college experience, AIC promotes education and professional achievement as core values, in turn strengthening families and communities. AIC is encouraged by the opportunity to partner with NCAA in providing prevention and education about positive alcohol use choices for our students.

In our proposed project, the AIC Office of Residence Life and Student Conduct will partner with AIC Athletics to provide alcohol awareness and education by developing a three-tiered MyChoices Programming Series for all students at every stage of their college career, from recruitment to graduation:

  1. MyChoices: PREVENTION begins with students hosting high school recruits through Athletics and the admissions office and is designed to create a fun and supportive campus that discourages binge drinking and party culture,
  2. MyChoices: EDUCATION will begin with an online Blackboard class that freshmen attending on-campus orientation will be required to complete. Additionally, the MyChoices: Education series will feature large-scale programming during first-year fall orientation and will continues with educational/prevention programming throughout the academic year, impacting all students in a continuous educational manner.
  3. MyChoices: RE-ENGAGEMENT will focus on students who have been documented for alcohol use and referred to the Student Conduct System. The program focuses on connecting students with campus resources and peer-to- peer conversations aimed at helping them get back on track, stay in school, and enjoy a successful college career.

AIC’s partnership between residence life and athletics will teach students healthy habits, connect students to campus resources, and educate students with the goal of changing behavior both in college and after graduation. The MyChoices Programming Series will impact all students—athletes and non-athletes alike—who will better understand their relationship with alcohol and learn to make good and healthy choices.

Arizona State University (Division I; Pac-12 Conference)

College is a time when students ages 18-24 begin to discover who they are, what they stand for and the individual they want to become (Morgan, 2016). During this time of discovery, students make choices that influence their ability to perform and establish life patterns related to healthy choices.

The question facing academic settings is how to help students, who may be on their own for the first time, be successful in their educational goals, dreams and aspirations? In seeking an answer to this question, student services and athletic professionals at Arizona State University, the New American University, ask deeper questions: Are students equipped with the tools to cope with college stress/pressures (i.e. academic performance, loneliness, social pressures, time management)? Are students accurately perceiving social norms related to alcohol use? Do students have healthy social skills that empower them to make friends while retaining their sense of self? If students choose to legally consume alcohol, do they know how to drink responsibly thus reducing the risk of harm? Are student athletes equipped to balance every day student choices, while also juggling the demands related to their athletic performance (practices, competition, travel schedules, etc.)? Are ASU staff members properly trained to recognize a student who might be misusing alcohol, know how to properly intervene and refer to treatment?

These questions are the foundation of this NCAA Choices grant proposal. By collaborating together, ASU Wellness and Health Promotion, Sun Devil Athletics and students, including student-athletes, will design strategies and systems to strengthen ASU’s efforts to reduce high risk and underage drinking among ASU’s undergraduate student population, and build capacity by ASU staff and student leaders to notice signs of substance use and make an effective referral to get help.

Our approach is to engage students in designing healthy, alcohol-free activities, education programs and messaging to promote pro-social norms, and to provide new avenues of education and support for parents of ASU freshmen to engage their students in meaningful discussion about the impact of alcohol on the student experience. Further, we plan to provide training in motivational interviewing and enhance the referral process for staff who serve the target population of undergraduate students who experience a greater risk for underage and high-risk drinking, as a way to reduce the impact of high risk drinking.

The grant program will be implemented across ASU’s four Phoenix area campuses, with potential to impact a significant number of students. During the 2017-2018 school year, ASU enrolled 59,198 undergraduate students. Of these, 13,900 lived on campus, 10,278 were first-time freshman, 4,890 were new transfer students, 5,000 were members of the Greek life and 650 were student-athletes participating in at least one of ASU’s 26 athletic teams within the Pac-12 Conference.

University of Arkansas (Division I; Southeastern Conference)

In 1871 the University of Arkansas established its campus on a hilltop overlooking the Ozark Mountains. More than 140 years later, the university has reached a record enrollment of 27,558 students who experience 200 different academic programs comprised of a student body representing all 50 states and 120 countries. The mission of the University of Arkansas is to serve Arkansas and beyond as a partner, resource, and catalyst. That 'students-first' philosophy is a big reason why the U of A is consistently ranked among the nation's top public research universities. Campus truly is its own community with a multitude of activities and opportunities in which students can get involved. At the U of A, 30 percent of all students and 60 percent of freshman are involved in Greek Life. There are also more than 380 registered student organizations. Aside from different organizations students can join, students can attend distinguished lectures, concerts, live theater and films on campus. One factor that truly unifies the campus community is the love and support the students share for the Arkansas Razorbacks. The University of Arkansas Razorbacks are a NCAA Division I member institution competing in the Southeastern Conference. More than 460 student-athletes compete in 19 different sports. The university hosts more than 200 athletic events every year! In the fall 2017 semester, Arkansas student- athletes earned a program record 3.25 grade point average and participated in more than 3,356 community service hours. Community engagement focuses in three areas, one of which is promoting healthy lifestyles.

Alcohol is considered a commonly used substance on most college campuses and is one of the leading causes of death for individuals 21 years old and younger. Recent (2016-17) statistics on alcohol consumption at the University of Arkansas revealed that 19 percent of freshman students in 2014-15 drank alcohol and demonstrated high-risk (e.g., binge drinking, taking shots and chugging alcohol) drinking behaviors. Forty-one percent of the sample reported blacking out due to alcohol consumption and 53 percent reported experiencing a hangover. According to U of A police statistics (2016) there were 379 liquor law violations for which students were referred for disciplinary action. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2018), excessive drinking can impede academic success. Given that the University of Arkansas student population continues to grow and members of Greek Life, student-athletes, and first year students (which together comprise nearly 40 percent of the student population) are considered at-risk in regard to alcohol abuse, it is vitally important to integrate students into a campus-wide effort to reduce alcohol abuse in-line with the university’s “student first” mentality.

The NCAA CHOICES grant will assist in our developing a registered student organization, Razorbacks Offering Accountability Resources. The goal of ROAR is to create student-led initiatives (e.g., public service announcements, bystander intervention, alcohol awareness week, sober spring break) that reduce alcohol misuse and abuse behaviors among a variety of student populations through a campus-wide effort to help University of Arkansas’ students make better decisions regarding alcohol usage. Through campus partnerships among Athletics, the Walton College of Business, the College of Education and Health Professions, New Student and Family Programming, Housing Education, Substance Education and Alcohol Resources, Greek Life and University of Arkansas Police Department, ROAR strives to achieve the following objectives: 1) develop and implement bystander/BACCHUS training for student leaders; 2) develop and disseminate alcohol messaging and create strategic marketing efforts that reflect current alcohol trends on campus; 3) increase student awareness regarding alcohol related resources; and 4) decrease high-risk alcohol usage among students.

Bellarmine University (Division II; Great Lakes Valley Conference)

Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation's best colleges and universities. Bellarmine is an independent Catholic university that provides students with an education based in the liberal arts. Located on the edge of downtown Louisville, Bellarmine is set on three beautiful hills in the artful and eclectic Highlands neighborhood. Our total undergraduate enrollment is 2,544 students of which 1,637 are female and 907 are male. Our campus includes a diverse student body from 43 states and 26 foreign countries who attend Bellarmine to learn and live in veritatis amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.

Bellarmine University firmly believes that athletics has a very important role to play in the education and development of the “whole student” and has great interest in the student's physical well-being and development. Our athletic program compliments the academic program of the University, providing quality athletics with quality academics, while providing opportunities for the students to enrich their talents in the area of leadership, cooperation and fair play. Bellarmine University is a multi-divisional member of NCAA Athletics competing in both Division I and Division II (men’s lacrosse competes at the Division I level). The Bellarmine Knights compromise of a total of 402 student-athletes (roughly 46 percent female and 54 percent male) who are involved in a total of 22 NCAA Division II sports. Our female student athletes compete in the following sports – basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field and volleyball. Our male student athletes compete in the following sports –  basketball, cross country, lacrosse, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, indoor track & field, outdoor track & field and wrestling.

Through a collaborative effort between the athletics department and Department of Campus Recreation and Wellness within the Division of Student Affairs, we aim to pilot a student-athlete peer mentor program in order to build and launch the Knights Wellness Network. The Knights Wellness Network will develop to include other student organizations, fraternity and sorority life, academic departments and other targeted student leaders. Both the Athletic Peer Mentor program and the Knights Wellness Network will allow for a more comprehensive approach to health promotion on our campus.

Our main goal is to increase (enhance) awareness, education and training around key health and wellness issues on our campus such as alcohol and substance use, stress and mental well-being, healthy relationships and sexual assault prevention. Another goal is to empower student-athletes and student leaders to promote a positive, healthy environment and culture on campus. The key objectives of the Knights Wellness Network project include 1) provide training to selected student-athletes and student leaders around listening skills, intervention, and referral skills; 2) increase number of TIPS for the university training sessions covering alcohol education to athletic teams and student organizations; 3) expand educational programming through additional outreach presentations, trainings, resources, and communication materials; 4) develop and implement social norming campaigns around key health and wellness issues targeting key audiences such as student athletes, first year students and underrepresented students.

Catholic University (Division III; Landmark Conference)

The Catholic University of America is a national research university located in Washington, DC. Founded in 1887 by the U.S. Catholic Bishops with the approval of Pope Leo XIII, it serves as the only national university of the Catholic Church in the United States.

Our student body comprises 3,241 undergraduate and 2,835 graduate students, 55 percent of which are female. Approximately 30 percent of students participate in varsity or club sports and as of fall 2018, the University will be home to 25 Division III teams. Our 550 student-athletes and 75 coaches compete in the Landmark Conference, as well as the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference.

Choose Cardinals First is a new initiative born out of a collaboration between the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Campus Activities in partnership with the athletics department. The aim of the program is for participants to gain a better understanding of the challenges and consequences related to high-risk alcohol consumption while growing in their roles as student leaders who recognize their ability to influence the campus climate. As a result of their participation, students will develop critical decision-making skills to assist in intervention and will become proficient at reducing harmful and dangerous situations wherever they occur in the campus community—both in and outside of the classroom.

Choose Cardinals First is a three-year leadership program focused on decision-making, protective strategy development, and skills-based leadership. Year One consists of four facilitator-led sessions, Year Two consists of peer-facilitated activities, and Year Three comprises students sharing their personal impact stories at a University-wide event.

Choose Cardinals First will be successful as it reaches the following four measurable goals:

Goal 1: To reduce high-risk substance use.

Goal 2: To develop a culture that empowers community members to intervene.

Goal 3: To recognize the impact individual actions have on the greater community.

Goal 4: To foster the development of strong cohorts within campus organizations, athletic teams, and student leader groups.

Catholic University is committed to creating lasting change. This award will lead to an expansion of our substance abuse education, ethical development, and skills-based leadership programs by allowing us to create effective small-group facilitated dialogue. Each program session will be tailored to its audience, identifying the needs of the group through direct collaboration with coaches, participants, and advisors between sessions. We’ve already seen some success in this area as the Division of Student Affairs fully funded the Choose Cardinals First pilot program for the 2017-2018 academic year. This award will allow us to continue and expand the program to more student organizations and teams. Catholic University firmly believes that with ample opportunity and education, individuals can make a difference. Starting from within organizations, one individual’s impact can reach outward to the wider community. Our vision is to create a ripple effect of campus impact through a three-pronged approach that combines skills-based leadership, ethical decision-making, and substance use education. We hope that such a vision will be made a reality through this grant.

Central College (Division III; Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference)

Central College is pursuing a thoughtful discovery into our current alcohol policy. Central intends to create a new culture regarding alcohol use and alcohol education. Whereas alcohol consumption has been perceived as taboo in the past, there is now a desire to develop and potentially implement a paradigm shift – to build a culture that respects one’s right to abstain from drinking but also explores low-risk alcohol consumption for those who are of legal drinking age and choose to drink. A culture change of this nature would enhance and embrace the art of peer education, collaboration and will be supported through sustainable practices.

We believe the CHOICES grant is the perfect opportunity to help us achieve our goal by allowing us to implement new and innovative methods to educate our student-athletes and the entire student body. Support will enable Central to implement the following strategies:

  • Integrate alcohol education into core curriculum
  • Develop alternative programming
  • Create a campus wide social norming campaign
  • Activate peer to peer education
  • Partner with our community on alcohol abuse prevention
  • Engage student-athletes in educational workshops
  • Expand Mentors in Violence Prevention training
  • Initiate cultural ambassador program

Central College is a residential liberal arts college of 1,160 students located in Pella, Iowa. Pella is a thriving community of approximately 10,000 people, located 40 miles southeast of Des Moines and home to several large international companies. Approximately seventy percent of our students hail from Iowa, followed by 22 percent from contiguous states. About 58 percent (roughly 673 students) of our enrollment fills the rosters of 19 NCAA intercollegiate teams, including junior varsity squads in most sports and dance and cheer teams. Central competes as a member of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and our athletes have won 168 conference titles and 23 all-sports titles. As the winner of 11 National Championships, Central College has a long history and tradition of success in NCAA Division III.

College of the Holy Cross (Division I; Patriot League)

The College of the Holy Cross seeks the NCAA CHOICES grant program to develop a comprehensive alcohol prevention program entitled, HCTwist. Driven by a coalition of students, student-athletes and professional staff from student affairs and athletics, HCTwist will strengthen a collaborative relationship between the student affairs division and the athletics departments with one goal: to reduce high-risk drinking behaviors among student on campus, as well as student athletes.

Using the peer-to peer model, HCTwist Coalition members will work with and train other students who are interested in being involved with alcohol prevention on campus. These efforts will target the entire student population on campus, and also will include tailored messages and programs that are designed for student athletes by student athletes that will run concurrently with the rest of the program.  Coalition leaders will undergo intensive training to assist with planning educational messaging and programming on campus. Although Holy Cross has many dedicated staff, students, and resources that are focused on reducing alcohol and substance use on campus, many of these efforts are driven by the Division of Student Affairs resulting in programs and educational messages that are not tailored to the lived experience and timeline of a student athlete on campus. It is essential that the athletic department is a core component in the planning, implementation and evaluation of programs focusing on reducing high-risk drinking on campus.

The College of the Holy Cross is a private, undergraduate, Jesuit, liberal arts institution located in the city of Worcester in central Massachusetts. Holy Cross is comprised of nearly 3,000 undergraduate students with 25 percent of undergraduate students participating in a varsity sport (Division I). The student motto is "men and women for and with others," which is exemplified and infused throughout student life on and off campus.

In the spirit of the student motto and given the large percentage of student athletes on campus, Holy Cross intends for HCTwist to create an intentional working relationship between the Division of Student Affairs and the athletic department to address high risk drinking behaviors for all students on campus.

Daemen College (Division II; East Coast Conference)

Daemen College is an affordable, private college located in Amherst, New York, which offers a balance of liberal arts and professional programs. In fall 2017, Daemen enrolled nearly 2,000 undergraduates and 800 graduate students. Daemen College strives to provide educational opportunities to a diverse population of students. Currently, 41 percent of undergraduates are Pell grant recipients, 15 percent are underrepresented minorities and 27 percent are first-generation college students. The college sponsors the only NCAA Division II Intercollegiate Athletics program in WNY, which focuses on youth and student development through sports and community engagement in health and wellness activities. Daemen Athletics fields 17 teams with 225 student-athletes.

The Daemen CHOICES program goal is to increase alcohol awareness and to support students toward making responsible and healthy choices. To accomplish this goal, we will focus on the following targets: (a) reduce alcohol use including binge drinking; (b) increase knowledge of alcohol and other drug use on the body, and the impact of lifestyle choices on athletic performance and overall health; and (c) increase student enthusiasm and attendance at substance free campus activities and events.

The purpose of the Daemen CHOICES program is to provide the Daemen student body with the skills, knowledge and support necessary to make informed healthy choices about their use of alcohol. Daemen CHOICES is designed as a comprehensive approach with a system of support that includes students, staff and faculty. All students will be exposed to the Daemen CHOICES message through an on campus media campaign which will reduce misperceptions of alcohol and other drug use and increase healthy protective behaviors of Daemen students. Additionally, all students will have access to CHOICES sponsored events and activities that provide substance-free choices for socializing. Daemen student athlete leaders will help develop and present a substance use and athletic performance module to athlete peers as a part of the Be The Best You program. Health promotion and alcohol education materials developed for the campus wide awareness campaign will also be provided to students as part of their orientation to Daemen College. The work of the CHOICES program is supported by a student campus programming board. The student-run board will serve as Daemen's principal organization for student event planning and campus programming.

University of Delaware (Division I; Colonial Athletic Association)

The University of Delaware is the largest institution in the state of Delaware and is home to an undergraduate population of 18,144 students. Our athletics department is comprised of 21 varsity sport teams and approximately 600 student-athletes. This grant program would help us reach both students and student-athletes alike on a topic that is extremely pertinent in our current campus climate and culture. Our university consistently has landed amongst the top party schools in the country and we see a need to foster change and re-write the narrative on what our university is all about. Alcohol abuse prevention is a major key to this change.

The purpose of our program is to positively influence and impact students across our entire campus with regards to making smart, healthy and knowledgeable decisions when it comes to drugs and alcohol.  Throughout all of these programs, we hope to reach a wide audience that includes student-athletes, student organizations, campus recreation (club sport teams, intramurals and non-varsity athletes such as cheerleaders and the dance team) and the general student population. In order to reach our students, we have planned to use various campus partners to help us achieve our goal and reach our intended outcomes, such as Student Wellness & Health Promotion, Residence Life & Housing and Campus Recreation.

In our approach to alcohol abuse prevention, we have focused on creating both educational and informative workshops, as well as alternative programming. We feel both are key components to reaching our student population and making a significant impact on how they view alcohol and in alcohol abuse prevention. These programs include awareness campaigns, guest speakers, alternative programming and student-run workshops, all of which you will find outlined in our proposal.

Our intended learning outcomes are that students will be able to appreciate the experiences they hear about from our guest speaker and analyze how what they learned affects their own lives and the decisions they make on a daily basis; students will be able to identify ways to abstain from drinking, make smart decisions while still being able to go out to be social and hang out with friends and feel comfortable all at the same time; create opportunities and incentives for non-varsity students to plan, organize or sponsor alcohol alternative programs; provide awareness about alcohol abuse through active and engaged campaigning; and provide fun alternative activities for all students.

King University (Division II; Conference Carolinas)

Alcohol abuse on college campuses is a significant concern across the country. Too often, alcohol abuse is a contributing factor leading to other dangerous and harmful behaviors, including sexual assault and violence. King University is no different in facing these challenges, and we are committed to facing these challenges and fulfilling our institutional mission to educate our students both inside and outside of the classroom.

Our mission statement states that we prepare students to excel as thoughtful, resourceful and responsible citizens. Much of this is learned in the classroom, but we believe the King experience includes educational opportunities outside of the classroom as well. Athletics is a great medium through which we educate our student athletes, and our student athletes are leaders on campus.

The opportunity to provide additional training and education to our student athletes, who can then model this behavior on campus, is one we are excited about at King, and one for which we have identified a significant need, based on an incident which occurred on campus this fall. Some additional detail on this incident is outlined in our proposal.

The CHOICES grant will provide funding to address alcohol abuse from several different angles, including education, but also to train our students to become responsible citizens and Step UP! for their friends when the circumstances require it.

By educating our students on the dangers of alcohol abuse and educating them on how to intervene on behalf of their friends, we can also impact other dangerous behaviors that often have their roots in alcohol abuse.  With funding available through the CHOICES grant, we will establish the “I will Step UP! For My Friends” program on campus, and have three years to adjust other budgetary expenses to continue the program beyond the years funding is provided by the grant.

Saint Francis University (Division I; Northeast Conference)

Saint Francis University, located in the rural Allegheny Mountains of Loretto, Pennsylvania, is a NCAA Division I school with unique characteristics and challenges. As an institution dedicated to providing an excellent educational, cultural and spiritual opportunity for the student body, we also recognize the social challenges our rural, geographically isolated, community presents. Social activities within the small town of Loretto are limited to two bar/restaurant establishments who actively compete for the attention and financial support of our students. In addition, two large college towns with plentiful bars (State College and Indiana) are located within a one-hour drive of SFU. Our efforts to provide non-alcoholic entertainment to our students are significantly affected by these variables.

The CHOICES Grant will permit the university to establish an enhanced campus-wide alcohol education and mentoring program (FLASH Forward), engaging student-athletes and other student groups such as Greeks and underage students. As the athletic department collaborates and partners with other university departments, the expectation is to integrate athletics departments into campus-wide educational and social norming efforts to reduce alcohol abuse and underage drinking.

Saint Francis University currently has 23 varsity athletic teams and 600 varsity student-athletes. The athletics department’s success in the classroom is clear with 42 Academic All-Americans, the highest of any Northeast Conference school. The university has had 38 consecutive semesters with athletes who have had a combined semester grade point average above 3.0. Outside the classroom, Saint Francis has won 30 Northeast Conference

Championships and finished in the top three in the NEC Commissioner’s Cup the last six years, a record symbolic of the program’s overall excellence.

University of Texas at Dallas (Division III; American Southwest Conference)

The University of Texas at Dallas was founded in 1967 as the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, then was renamed and became part of the University of Texas System in 1969. UT Dallas did not enroll a freshman class until 1990. Today, the UT Dallas is a dynamic research institution, competing for Tier One status. UT Dallas is on the cutting edge of science, technology, medicine, business and the arts.  In the fall 2017 semester 27,727 students were enrolled – 17,282 of which were undergraduate students (43 percent female, 57 percent male).

UT Dallas officially became part of the NCAA Division III and the American Southwest Conference in 1998. Today, UT Dallas Athletics is the home of 305 student athletes representing 13 sports. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, tennis, golf and soccer. Women’s sports include softball, basketball, cross country, tennis, golf, soccer and volleyball.

While the growth and expansion is very exciting for our relatively young university, it has also led to an increase in alcohol usage, an issue that UT Dallas is addressing through expanded alcohol prevention campaigns.

A survey through the American College Health Association was conducted in fall 2017. One aspect evaluated by the survey was the current alcohol use and related behaviors amongst the UTD population. Results to the questions on the survey are as follows: Armed with these facts, we recognize the urgency for alcohol prevention education and social norms marketing on our campus. The purpose of the Comet L.E.A.D. grant program is to reduce the number of UT Dallas students who participate in risky behaviors involving alcohol abuse and underage drinking.

The goals of this program are as follows:

  • Develop a student athlete peer mentoring program, using student leaders from each athletic team top serve as role models and educators to other students on campus.
  • Educate students on UTD and NCAA policies and sanctions regarding alcohol abuse and driving under the influence, as well as federal/state laws.
  • Reduce the number of UT Dallas students who participate in risky behaviors involving alcohol.
  • Reduce the number of underage students who choose to drink alcohol.
  • Reduce the number of on-campus alcohol related offences and repeat offences.
  • Collaborate with other departments and student groups to create alcohol free educational and social opportunities for UT Dallas students.
  • Develop a social norms marketing campaign, using student athletes, to aide our students in gaining a clear perspective of actual alcohol use by UT Dallas students.

This grant will allow the University of Texas at Dallas Athletics Department to work with the Student Wellness Center in collaboration with other campus partners to reduce risky behaviors of our students. We believe the Comet L.E.A.D. program will change social norms surrounding alcohol and implement safe and healthy traditions on a growing campus.

Texas Tech University (Division I; Big 12 Conference)

Texas Tech University is a public research university located in Lubbock, Texas. TTU recently joined the ranks of Carnegie R1 (“High Research Activity”) Universities and has recently been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution, joining only 14 other similarly designated universities across the country.  The 30,737 undergraduate student body is 46 percent female and comprised of 56 percent Caucasian, 28 percent Hispanic, 8 percent Asian American/Pacific Islander and 7 percent African American students.  TTU is a Division I University with a total of 17 men’s and women’s athletic teams and 417 student-athletes.

The overarching goal of the TEAM EFFORT project is to reduce problematic alcohol use and associated risks in the general TTU student body. The proposed TEAM EFFORT intervention is anchored on two evidence-based principles: 1) the use of Protective Behavioral Strategies, which are a cluster of behavioral strategies and skills (e.g., counting drinks, avoiding drinking games) known to be associated with reduced alcohol consumption and related problems; and 2) correction of biased beliefs about drinking and drinking behavior (e.g., that other college students drink more than they actually do).  Importantly, both male and female TTU student-athletes will play a central role as advocates/endorsers of PBS principles, as well as serving as educators in correcting myths about drinking practices. The latter will be accomplished by selected athletes volunteering to appear in short video clips to be presented to students on and around game day and in a variety of viewing contexts.

TEAM EFFORT’s innovation lies in its three-pronged approach to disseminating the aforementioned student-athletes’ messages. First, messages will be sent directly to students via text-messages and/or social media posts. Second, the aforementioned video messages featuring student-athletes will be shown on television message boards displayed prominently throughout the TTU campus. Third, these videos will be shown in arena-based multimedia platforms (e.g., on the Jumbotron or scoreboards).  Given the intervention rationale and procedures above, the first objective of the TEAM EFFORT campaign is to use the computer software and hardware infrastructure available to us at TTU to create and disseminate the messages, as well as produce high quality video clips that will be distributed to students. The second objective is to evaluate the above interventions through the use of a mixed quantitative-qualitative methodology. The overall hypothesis is that the student-athlete’s messages encouraging PBS use and correcting alcohol use myths will result in decreased alcohol consumption, minimized potential for binge drinking, and a reduction in alcohol use-related risk behaviors in TTU students.

Wake Forest (Division I; Atlantic Coast Conference)

Wake Forest University DEAC, Deacons Engaging in Astute Choices, will develop and implement four new alcohol misuse prevention programs by leveraging the reach and administrative structure of the athletics department with the prevention, program development and evaluation expertise of the Office of Wellbeing. Each of the programs will build upon the success of existing prevention programs and address the social norms, timeframes and some groups that are most associated with high-risk alcohol misuse among college students.

These four programs will include: 1) Using recognized Deacon athletes as the messengers and proven alcohol abuse prevention messaging, we will create video messages to play at home sporting events to encourage responsible alcohol use and consideration of abstinence; 2) We will develop an incentives program to encourage students to stay in the stands for the entirety of home football games as an alternative to high-risk parties. Deacs who stay for the game will have an opportunity to get student-designed swag items that will also carry prevention messaging; 3) Using current seniors, including student-athletes we will produce a video featuring testimonials that offer advice for incoming first-year students regarding alcohol safety, creating a sense of belonging and avoiding common mistakes. These video testimonials will be used to enhance our robust prevention programming during new-student orientation each fall; and 4) Finally, we will host sober tailgate parties for students at all football home games that feature food, non-alcoholic drinks, fun activities and student-designed swag items featuring prevention messaging.

Combined, we expect these initiatives to result in increased used of safety behaviors (tracking BAC, counting drinks, choosing not to drink, staying with friends, eating before and during drinking, alternating with non-alcoholic beverages, active bystander behaviors, etc.) and an increase in student attendance at home football games. We would also expect to see a decrease in intoxication-related conduct incidents and incidents requiring medical attention and/or hospitalization for intoxication.

Wake Forest University is a private, liberal arts, research university located in Winston-Salem, NC. Founded in 1834 with an enrollment of only 16, the undergraduate student population has now grown to 4,955. A NCAA Division I institution in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Wake Forest University is home to 18 athletic teams and 350 student athletes. Wake Forest College of Arts and Sciences, with its 29 academic departments and 16 interdisciplinary programs, is the heart of Wake Forest University. The college embraces the liberal arts tradition within the context of an internationally recognized research university.