For a third consecutive year, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s Office of Highway Safety awards Fort Valley State University $6,990 for its “Be the Sober One” program.
The “Be the Sober One” program is a peer-to-peer social norm campaign designed to increase preventive knowledge and positive norms among FVSU students to prevent drinking and driving. According to research from the Department of Transportation, 28 people in the United States die, daily, in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 53 minutes.
Locally, FVSU students are empowered with factual, evidenced-based data on the effects of alcohol through the utilization of the Alcohol Literacy Challenge, a fun and interactive program that highlights the psychological myths associated with drinking. In addition to workshops, on campus surveys and safety checks are incorporated within the campaign.
“We take a great deal of pride on the results of our alcohol abuse prevention programming,” said Alvin Lindsey, outreach director the Wellness Center, a component of the Office of Student Health and Counseling Services. “Through this program, we have educated more than 1,600 freshmen and other at-risk populations with knowledge on how to retain their seats until graduation through the avoidance of risky behaviors, such as alcohol abuse.
The center follows “Sources of Strength” prevention model to create a seamless and holistic peer-led approach to education. “Sources of Strength” is a mental health wellness project that utilizes the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture to ultimately prevent suicide, bullying, violence and substance abuse.
“Only through the provision of holistic and comprehensive services can we truly address all social determinants of health engaged by our students, while simultaneously addressing possible co-occurring disorders,” said Jackie Caskey-James, director of the Office of Student Health and Counseling Services.
According to FVSU student Anthony White, his position as a peer lead helps improve students’ success on campus. “This position has afforded me the opportunity to impact the student’s ability to make informed decisions around drinking and driving. I am often approached by fellow classmates who say that my involvement has helped them to rethink decisions that may have otherwise caused negative implications on their lives.”
Working hand in hand with the university’s campus safety department, the team-based approach assists in reaching students by providing often uncomfortable scenarios aimed at dismantling the sensationalistic positive images deployed by social media and traditional media genres. At Fort Valley State University, an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure.
For more information, contact FVSU’s Office of Student Health and Counseling Services at 478-822-1036.