University of Pittsburgh
September 13, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 14 -- The University of Pittsburgh has launched a campus-wide program urging students to drink less alcohol. The campaign, which supports a national effort, features posters designed to educate students about alcohol abuse. The posters, developed by Pitt's Alcohol Advisory Committee, will be displayed in residence halls and other campus locations.

"Binge drinking by college students is a national concern and helping our students understand and avoid the risks associated with that behavior is a continuing priority for us," said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. "This new campaign is the latest in a series of ongoing efforts at Pitt to make our students aware that, contrary to the prevailing stereotypes, excessive drinking is not a necessary part of their college experience."

The theme, "Drink Less," is depicted in several versions of colorful posters stressing the single fact that "most college students don't get trashed -- even if they drink." Based on data collected from the Core Institute Alcohol and Drug Survey, the posters promote the idea that students, who want to be part of the crowd, should drink less rather than more, as is frequently their perception when they arrive on campus.

"Research at other schools shows that social marketing campaigns such as ours lower binge drinking and the perception of binge drinking among students," said James Cox, chair of Pitt's Alcohol Advisory Committee and certified addictions counselor. "We have a realistic goal, which is to lower drinking and to promote drinking less."

The campaign's intent is to correct student misconception about alcohol consumption and, by presenting the information in a way that appeals to students, to stress the consequences of overindulging such as sexual misadventures, embarrassing behavior and situations, as well as the physical results of binge drinking.

During freshman orientation students received a coffee mug printed with "Drink Less" and suggestions for more preferable beverage options. The latest phase of the "Drink Less" campaign will hit campus this week. It is supported by a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Among the initiatives introduced by the University was the promotion of alcohol-free dorms last year which encouraged students to sign a pledge not to permit alcohol in their living quarters.