Students And Officials Seek To End Drinking Practice Tied To Last
Home Football Game
9, 2000 -- As the University of Virginias last
home football game approaches on Nov. 18, numerous efforts are under
way to promote healthy decision-making among students and to discourage
officials and students are organizing events in a continuing campaign
to dispel a decades-old perception that alcohol use among students
is a rite of passage. Educational events during an Alcohol Awareness
Week will begin Saturday, Nov. 11. In addition, a student group
hopes to curb the "4th-year fifth," a practice
in recent years by some fourth-year students to attempt to consume
a fifth of alcohol on the day of the last home football game.
of efforts uniting U.Va. officials with student leaders, athletes
and members of the Greek system follow.
U.Va. student organization, Fourth Years Ending Stupid Traditions
(F.E.S.T) has a name that matches its mission.
students, Fourth-Year Trustees of the Class of 2001, have banded
together to raise awareness of the dangers of high-risk drinking
and to promote responsible drinking behavior during the last home
football game. Through Project F.E.S.T., the trustees hope to eliminate
the "4th-year fifth," a drinking practice started less
than 20 years ago.
to drink a fifth of liquor is extremely dangerous, said Dr. James
C. Turner, director of U.Va.s student health department. "Its
tantamount to playing Russian roulette. It places a young person
at extremely high risk of injury, sickness or death."
members are asking students to sign pledge cards promising to drink
responsibly and not to participate in the "4th-year
fifth." Students who bring the signed pledge cards to the football
game can redeem them for U.Va. cups that entitle them to free non-alcoholic
beverages during the event. Cardholders will also be eligible for
a raffle of prizes donated by local merchants.
half of the Class of 2000 took the pledge last year, the first year
of Project F.E.S.T.," said Matt Madden, a fourth-year trustee,
who is a government and history major. "We hope to build on
that success this year to put this ugly and destructive tradition
Turner affirms that last years efforts to curb the "4th-year
fifth" practice met with success. He noted that last year two
students who had attempted to drink a fifth were admitted to the
emergency room, compared to 11 the preceding year.
observed that the class trustees feel especially committed to ending
the "4th-year fifth" drinking practice. He
noted that Leslie Baltz, a 21-year-old honor student, died in 1997,
the year his class were first-year students, after falling down
a stairway on the day of U.Va.s last home game.
want to end what is certainly not a tradition or even a wildly popular
practice," Madden said. A 1999 U.Va. study, for example, indicated
that 16 percent of fourth-year students attempted the "4th-year
encourage students to sign pledges, athletes, cheerleaders and members
of the Greek system will staff tables on the Lawn. They also will
circulate pledge cards during an a capella concert on Nov. 12.
more information, contact Matt Madden at (804) 924-8884, the Student
Council Office; (804) 245-8737, home; or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Will Participate in Healthy Tradition
residents are invited to participate in the "4th-year
5K" race (or walk) on the morning of Nov. 18, the day of the
last home football game. The event, which was created in 1992 by
U.Va.s Office of Health Promotion as a healthy way to celebrate
the last home game, will begin at 8 a.m. at the Aquatic and Fitness
Center at 450 Whitehead Rd.
portion of the race proceeds will be donated to the Leslie Baltz
Scholarship fund. Her family will participate in the same event
that she ran in 1997.
are pleased to take part in a healthy U.Va. tradition that will
support a positive message to all students and that will recognize
and honor Leslies life as a fourth-year student," said
Vivian Baltz, Leslies mother.
scholarship, established by the Baltz family, provides money to
students majoring in art or art history or who want to study in
Italy. For every person who crosses the races finish line
at the Aquatic and Fitness Center, $1 will be donated to the scholarship
event is open to University students, faculty and staff as well
as area residents. Registration costs $5 for fourth-year students
and $10 for all others. People can register on the Lawn or at Ragged
Mountain Running Shop the week before the race or at the Aquatic
and Fitness Center on race day.
more information on the race, contact Abbie Shore, faculty advisor,
at (804) 924-1509 or email@example.com
or Latrina Lemon, a student peer health educator who is the race
coordinator, at (804) 243-4938 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ad to Focus on Social "Norm" of Drinking
such as Alcohol Awareness Week and the "4th-year
5K" are part of a comprehensive effort by U.Va. officials to
reduce high-risk drinking among students. Prevention and education
efforts begin during orientation for first-year students and continue
throughout the academic year with peer-led group presentations,
training for residence staff in student housing, late-night social
events, and individual assistance from professional staff.
complement these efforts, U.Va.s Office of Health Promotion
in the Student Health Department coordinates a social norms marketing
campaign to promote responsible drinking and reduce the negative
effects of alcohol. Currently focused on first-year students, the
social norms campaign uses quantitative and qualitative research
to assess students drinking habits and behaviors.
"norms" are then communicated to students on posters placed
in bathroom stalls of the first-year residence halls. Recent messages
have included "59% of U.Va. first-year students have 0-4 drinks
per week," "80% of 1st years agree that when
drinking, its important to stay in control," and "70%
of 1st years have not missed a class due to drinking."
many institutions across the country, we have found that our students
tend to overestimate the extent to which everyone else is drinking,"
said Cindy Miller, the social norms marketing coordinator in the
Health Promotion Office. "That overestimation can lead students
to feel pressure to drink more than they normally would to fit
in. We attempt to alleviate that pressure by providing students
with the facts."
association with Alcohol Awareness Week and the "4th-year
5K," Millers office will run an ad in the Nov. 17 issue
of the Cavalier Daily that reads, "Majority Rules: MOST (84%)
U.Va. Fourth-Year Students do not participate in the 4th-year
the social norms campaign is still in its early stages, it is meeting
with some success. A survey conducted in spring 1999 indicated that
while students reported consuming an average of 6.1 drinks per week,
they believed their peers to consume an average of 9.3 drinks per
follow-up survey in spring 2000 indicated that students perceptions
of drinking by their peers were much more accurate. In addition,
actual consumption of alcohol and the experience of negative consequences
associated with drinking decreased among first-year women, Miller
2000 survey, however, indicated that first-year men experienced
an increase in both consumption and negative consequences.
the social norms campaign is only in its second full year of implementation,
officials caution that it is still too early to tell if the program
will be effective. However, they are encouraged by some of the early
results and plan to launch a campus-wide campaign in the next year
focusing on the entire student population.
more information, contact Cindy Miller at (804) 924-2776 or email@example.com.
Talks by Mrs. Baltz and Others Highlight Alcohol Awareness Week
the week is observed nationally in October, U.Va.s Alcohol
Awareness Week is held in November to coincide with the last home
football game in an effort to promote responsible drinking behavior
week is planned by a University-wide committee chaired by student
peer educators in ADAPT, a program created in response to recommendations
of the 1998 U.Va. alcohol task force calling for greater student
leadership on alcohol issues. Peer educators in ADAPT, the Alcohol
and Drug Abuse Prevention Team in U.Va.s Center for Alcohol
and Substance Education (CASE), work with administrators and other
students to promote messages of responsibility, safety and caring
events are intended to stimulate thoughtful discussion, provide
useful information and promote healthy decisions about alcohol use,
according to Jill Ingram, ADAPT peer educator and chair of the weeks
will kick off a Pedestrian Safety/Designated Driver program Saturday,
Nov. 11, at Corner restaurants. The program, designed to promote
a safer and healthier college environment, is a collaboration between
ADAPT and Corner merchants, who have agreed to provide free non-alcoholic
beverages to students who pledge to be designated drivers for their
groups. In return, ADAPT will run ads in the Cavalier Daily that
recognize the merchants' contributions and promote student awareness
of the program. The initiative has been funded through a grant from
the Virginia ABC.
evidence of the breadth of commitment across Grounds to support
educational efforts, co-sponsors of Alcohol Awareness Week include
ADAPT, Arts and Sciences Council, Asian Student Union, Black Fraternal
Council, CASE, Dining Services, F.E.S.T., First-Year Resource Center,
Fourth-Year Trustees, Inter-Sorority Council, Office of the Dean
of Students, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Peer
Health Educators, Phi Alpha Delta, Student Athlete Mentors, Student
Council, Student Health, University Bookstore and University Programs
Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857