Strategic Communication program receives grant to educate about alcohol poisoning
Fort Worth, TX
The Strategic Communication program in the Schieffer School of Journalism at TCU has received a $50,000 grant from The Century Council, a not-for-profit funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.
“This grant, a first of its kind for a campaign course at the School, will be used to further develop, execute and research a peer-to-peer campaign to educate students about alcohol poisoning,” announced John Lumpkin, director of the Schieffer School.
The Century Council awarded the grant in recognition of the Schieffer School team’s promising approach to educating peers on the symptoms associated with alcohol poisoning, as presented in their submission to the 2009 American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) sponsored by The Century Council.
More than 140 teams participated in NSAC. They were tasked with developing a comprehensive communications campaign to decrease dangerous overconsumption of alcohol on our nation’s college campuses. “We have high hopes that this campaign created by TCU students for TCU students will not only educate students but will save lives. We believe in empowering the students’ voice and are proud of TCU’s leadership on this important issue,” said Ralph Blackman, president and CEO, The Century Council.
The TCU students’ campaign is called VITALS – an acronym that stands for Vomiting, Incoherence, Temperature, Absence of color, Low breathing and Seizure. It is an offshoot of the PROOF campaign, their original NSAC submission.
The need to implement a health communication campaign like VITALS at TCU is supported by a benchmark survey conducted by Dr. Wendy Macias, assistant professor of strategic communication. The study revealed that almost one third of TCU undergraduate students report that they or their friends have experienced alcohol poisoning; however, their knowledge of the signs of alcohol poisoning that should prompt a call for medical help shows uncertainty and inconsistencies.
VITALS exemplifies TCU’s emphasis on collaboration. Although the campaign is taught as a class by Dr. Amiso George, several strategic communication faculty members, including Dr. Catherine Coleman, and some campus departments such as the Alcohol and Drug Education Center are fully participating in the effort to make the campaign a truly TCU experience.
Dr. Julie O’Neil, division head of Strategic Communication, said, “The scope of this project is more substantial than those afforded by most local internships for our students. Our students' campaign – if successful – may be reproduced on university campuses across the nation.”
The student-driven campaign has generated creative communication ideas honed in Professor Bill Johnson’s advertising class in the summer. The campaign kicks off this month with an introduction to the VITALS concept and will conclude with an event in April 2012.
About the Schieffer School:
Named for CBS News Anchor and alumnus Bob Schieffer, the Schieffer School of Journalism at TCU offers majors in journalism and strategic communication and a minor in journalism. The journalism major uses emerging online platforms as well as traditional broadcast and print in its learning outcomes. The strategic communication major uses advertising and public relations tools and approaches to achieve strategic goals for brands and organizations. TCU’s journalism and strategic communication programs were the first for private institutions to be fully accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The school’s undergraduate enrollment is 635 students. Learn more at www.schiefferschool.tcu.edu
About The Century CouncilThe Century Council is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; Pernod Ricard USA; and Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia and chaired by Hon. Susan Molinari, The Century Council is a leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol. The Century Council develops and implements innovative programs and public awareness campaigns and promotes action through strategic partnerships. Established in 1991, The Century Council’s initiatives are highlighted on its website at www.centurycouncil.org.