finds its students drink safely
By Jim Steinberg, THE FRESNO BEE
Looking toward spring
break, Fresno State released its student behavior survey Thursday, showing
that most students drink and behave safely.
Sam Gitchel, social
norms program director on campus, discussed the survey of 572 randomly
selected California State University, Fresno, students, conducted by
the university's Health and Psychological Services.
The survey, which
used the services of the National College Health Assessment, found that
most Fresno State students do not abuse alcohol.
provided loud music at noon outside the Student Union for a concert
stressing safe drinking and other behavior.
21, stood near the dancing and music and said the program would help
him and others act safely during spring vacation, which begins Monday.
"A lot of people
listen," he said. "This spreads the word: Drink responsibly.
It lets us know before spring break, so we can keep it in mind."
Gitchel said the
spring reminder was one of several through the year, and the main point
is that "there is a huge overestimation of risky behavior among
This is owing in
part to advertising messages as well as alarmist warnings against risky
behavior. The warnings leave the false suggestion that most people behave
dangerously, he said.
The social norms
campaign is budgeted at about $75,000 per year, which Gitchel views
as a bargain for preventing drinking and drunken-driving deaths.
Among its findings,
the survey reported that:
51% of students
don't drink any alcohol in a typical month.
5% of students let
drinking interfere with studies.
And 74% of students
expect to drink alcohol no more than twice during spring break and 32%
expect to drink none.
More alarming, the
Journal of American College Health found in May 1998 that the average
college man said he consumed 18 drinks per day during spring break,
the average college woman, 10 drinks. That report said that almost half
the men and more than 40% of the women drank until they passed out or
Gitchel said knowledge
of data showing a more moderate approach to drinking at Fresno State
tends to modify students' behavior by "giving them the power of
The reporter can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 441-6311.
Copyright 2004 McClatchy