U-Choose is an educational based campus prevention effort that focuses on the reduction of high risk
alcohol use. The program utilizes empirically based theories and approaches specifically designed for
college students. Our presenters are trained on the following approaches. The presenters utilize these
approaches in a fun, interactive, positive, and intellectually stimulating manner.
Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students is a nationally recognized and empirically validated program for helping students reduce high risk alcohol behaviors. It focuses on helping students identify negative and harmful consequences of their use. It acknowledges that abstinence from alcohol is the safest option but not always the most acceptable choice for students. Thus the program, focuses on harm reduction as opposed to a “just say no” approach.
Motivational interviewing has gained widespread acceptance in chemical abuse treatment and college counseling. It is a focused and goal directed approach to working with college students. It attempts to meet students where they are in terms of change. In this context, the ultimate goal is to help students explore and resolve their ambivalence to changing behaviors around alcohol use.
Social norms approaches assume that students may have inaccurate perceptions about the quantity and frequency of alcohol use of their fellow college students. Often students hear the most provocative and salacious stories about other students. They rarely hear what usually happens as it makes for less outrageous stories. Thus, social norms seeks to gather accurate use data and then promote the accurate data in conjunction with healthy and protective behaviors. For example, according to data from 2006, approximately 30% of St. Cloud University students do not drink at all during a typical week.
Education & Skills Building
Many students lack a thorough understanding about many aspects of alcohol and its effects. U-choose helps students understand the neurological, psychological, and physiological effects of alcohol, blood alcohol levels, gender differences, tolerance, the size of a standard drink, and other relevant topics. U-choose participants receive a customized St. Cloud State University blood alcohol card to understand the effects of alcohol specific to their weight and gender. Presenters also link the negative academic effects of high risk alcohol use using current campus data.
In order for students to make safer choices the student must have an understanding of their current use. This includes quantity of alcohol consumed, frequency of consumption, type of alcohol, peak use, and typical use. In order to meet the needs of our students the U-Choose program has enlisted the e-CHUG. This online tool assesses alcohol use, incorporates social norms data and provides students with interesting feedback such as “How many cheeseburgers you drank last month” and “How long would you have to run to burn off what you drank last month.”