MTSU Health Services is pleased to continue its social norms marketing campaign surrounding substance use, or the lack thereof, by MTSU students. The campaign is based on the results of two student health surveys, completed in the 2009-2010 academic year.
Throughout the year, you may notice posters, magnets, and other items touting the campaign slogan, “Be One of the Majority!” The campaign is designed to highlight the large percentage of students who are choosing not to use substances like tobacco and marijuana, and/or who are choosing to limit their consumption of alcohol.
The four survey results on which the Be One campaign will focus include:
• 79% of MTSU students did not use marijuana in the last 30 days
• 2/3 of MTSU students did not smoke cigarettes in the last 30 days
• 64% of MTSU students drink three or fewer drinks when they party
• 60% of MTSU students drink one or fewer alcoholic drinks in an average week.
We fully expect that these messages will continue to surprise students, faculty, staff, and administrators, and may even be challenged by them. The Be One messages stand in stark contrast to the stereotypes that exist about college student behavior, which are frequently exploited in movies like Old School and Animal House. However, our statistics are supported by multiple national research studies which consistently document a large gap between what students perceive to be reality in terms of substance use by their peers and what is actually the reality based on reported use.
Both of our assessments, which collected data from over 1100 randomly selected students, were web-based, confidential and voluntary to best minimize self-report bias. Additionally, the demographics of students who responded to the survey are quite similar to the demographics of the overall student population.
While many alcohol and drug prevention efforts have negative undertones, using scare tactics and extreme examples, social norms campaigns stick to the positive. The Be One campaign is designed to recognize the many students who are already making responsible choices when it comes to alcohol and other drugs. At the same time, it informs students who may not currently be making responsible choices that their experiences are not indicative of the “true” MTSU college experience.
The Be One campaign is funded through grant monies provided by the Coalition for Healthy and Safe Campus Communities.
It is our hope that this campaign will continue to generate conversation and discussion across campus. To facilitate a home for this discussion, Health Services has created this website with information about the survey data and the infrastructure to support comments and replies. Please visit the site often and join the discussion.
When it comes to the use of alcohol and other drugs, Be One of the Majority!