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ASG works beyond AlcoholEDU, one poster at a time

By Kelly Higginson, Senior Staff Writer

Photo by Kyle Hayden, The Miami Student

AlcoholEdu statistics released last September showed that almost all alcohol-related incidents reported in fall 2013 concerned first-year students. Since receiving these statistics, the Associated Student Government (ASG) decided to take action in combating high-risk alcohol consumption among students.

ASG, the Office of Student Wellness and HAWKS Peer Health Educators decided to team up and design an effective way to get students' attention. President of Student Senate Dan Stewart started designing posters on his computer with information that might catch students' eyes.

Many drafts and sketches later, Stewart sent his idea to a designer and later received the final product - the "know your cup, know your limit" poster.

"We just thought of something that students would need for their first couple of weeks on campus," Stewart said.

When Miami instituted the Good Samaritan Policy in fall 2013, it allowed for heavily intoxicated students and their friends to call for help without any legal repercussions.

According to the Miami University Police Department, the purpose of this policy is to create consistency in handling alcohol or drug-related medical emergencies and to standardize reporting practices for statistical purposes.

Shortly after implementing the policy, Miami ran a Good Samaritan data check and found 90 percent of the incidents called in were first-year students.

"We experienced a bit of a shock over the statistics," non-voting member of the Board of Trustees Graham Bowling said.

Distributing the posters throughout all first-year and sophomore dorms was the first priority, Stewart said.

"We hope to get them up as soon as possible and have been giving them to the RAs," Stewart said. "I thought, 'What other info will they actually pay attention to after Alcohol Edu?' So we designed a poster thinking it might be the right thing to help keep the students safe."

When designing the poster, ASG members said they knew they wanted to create something relatable to the average Miami student. The result is a black-and-white poster flashing a red solo cup.

"The biggest thing is we are not encouraging drinking - the law is 21, that's how it is," Stewart said.

Although ASG does not condone underage drinking, Stewart said their main goal was to convey to students who do choose to drink that there are safe ways of going about it and, in extreme cases, the Good Samaritan Policy is an excellent resource.

"We just want underclassmen to know their cup, and know their limit," Stewart said.

ASG funded the project for the posters to be distributed throughout the residence halls in hopes that the "90 percent" will decrease this fall.

"The price to make them was minimal for the amount of exposure we are getting," Stewart said. "We did something cost effective while reaching a lot of people at the same time."