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This item originally appeared in the February 3, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.

By ERIN HOPKINS

Staff Writer

Drinking responsibly is a major focus of many college campuses, and Tech is no exception. Tech introduced a new program that will educate students and their parents about making responsible and healthy decisions about alcohol.

"Choices Generation is basically an alcohol awareness and education program," Calvin Williams, the coordinator of the alcohol and other drug education offices, said.

"We want to try and ignite the power of students to make these decisions."

Williams, also a licensed professional counselor, said the program needed a name to attract attention.

"I chose Choices Generation as a name for this program because this is a generation of so many choices and opportunities available to them," Williams said.

The program consists of four components: The Social Norms Media Campaign, the Parent Campaign, the Campus and Community Coalition and the Alcohol Challenge.

"The Social Norms Media Campaign presents what the true norms are in attempt to combat some of the myths that people have about drinking," Williams said.

The campaign will highlight four athletes on posters that will present statistics regarding them and their choices about alcohol. The posters will be displayed around campuses and the community.

"I think it's a really good campaign," Julie Hadzic, one of the athletes highlighted, a member of the soccer team and a senior biology major, said. "The fact that we are athletes has an impact but more the fact it's people their age that make responsible choices regarding alcohol."

The next component, the Parent Campaign, will get information in the hands of parents about the statistics of alcohol, Williams said. The campaign will also present the parents with ways to have open communication with their children.

Another part of the campaign is commitment cards.

"I didn't think we would get the response we did, and it was really comforting," Williams said.

The third component of the campaign has already had an impact, Williams said. The Campus and Community Coalition includes bar owners, alcohol distributors, local law enforcements and other business owners.

"It brings all these resources together so we can begin a constructive dialogue on how we can make this campus and the community a safer place for everyone," he said.

The final component of the program is the Alcohol Challenge, Williams said.

The Alcohol Challenge is an online quiz that will include questions regarding alcohol and alcohol-related behaviors.

"The incentive to take the quiz will be weekly drawings to reward and encourage the students for participating," Williams said.

Stacy Gilbert, assistant athletic director, said the program is in response to a concern of the community.

"We wanted to target driving under the influence, and we saw that there was probably a little higher rate [of instances] in this area and we were really concerned about that," Gilbert said.

Gilbert said there is not a quick fix to this problem.

"There isn't just one thing that will be able to get everyone's attention," Gilbert said. "But if [the program] gets the attention of one person and saves one life, it's absolutely worth it."


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