Mark Smart Choices campaign: Collected statistics on drinking

Kaitlin Specht
News Writer

Every year, Millersville University utilizes the National Collegiate Health Assessment to collect data based on a variety of student health behavior topics. The Make Smart Choices campaign about drinking and other health associated behaviors provides statistics based on surveys and students’ responses.

According to Jayme Trogus, Wellness and Women’s Program Director, there are students who are both skeptical and in support of the data.

“We find that student’s perceptions are often influenced by their peer groups,” stated Trogus. “Students who socialize in a group where students make responsible decisions about alcohol and other drugs often believe the data. Students who are in groups of students who abuse alcohol and other drugs often find the data to be unbelievable because it is not what they have seen as the norm on campus.”

An example of the type of questions asked on the survey.
An example of the type of questions asked on the survey.

Based on the Make Smart Choices campaign in previous years, 99% of MU students use protective strategies when drinking, 89% stay with the same group of friends, 87% assign a designated driver, and 69% keep track of the number of drinks they consume. Some students on campus feel that these statistics are both accurate and biased.

Alyssa Meo, Junior, believes that they’re true “for the most part,” but feels like these percentages are lower than what she expected. According to Meo, she thinks that they’re effective, but know that students that look at these flyers “won’t think twice about it.” She does, however, think that they are placed decently around campus.

Kelly Dyer, Junior, thinks that these messages come across as effective to other students, especially when noticing the percentage of those keeping track of the number of drinks they consume. Dyer sees these flyers all of the time around campus and reads them. She does not believe that 87% of students assign a designated driver and know those who do consume alcohol and drive.

“I think there are students who don’t have designated drivers and people who drive drunk and do stupid things,” she stated.

Joey Bertoni, Junior, felt that it was hard tell if they are true or not.

“It doesn’t really give much proof,” he commented. Bertoni also stated how, based on experiences, he doesn’t “necessarily see that happening” based on 99% of Millersville University students using protective strategies when drinking.

“I do see people being responsible,” Bertoni said, “but I do see other people I don’t know, not being responsible. [They] might stretch the truth a bit just to grab our attention.”

“I’ve seen these around before, and the statistics seem a little bit, I think, generous as opposed to what’s really happening,” said Benjamin Shoff, Junior. “Sometimes I get e-mails about health surveys, and depending who does or doesn’t fill out the survey it really effects what happens to the sample.”

According to Trogus, these statistics are compared to national data of all students who complete the survey during the same survey year that they are administered on campus. She also stated how Millersville’s data aligns very closely to other students.

“We know that our data isn’t just taken from students who ‘don’t have any fun’ or ‘don’t have anything better to do on campus but complete a survey,” she said.

However, students do feel like these statistics are important to know when seeing them around campus.

“I have to admit that seeing these around, I think they are effective because it’s a reminder to be smart,” said Shoff.