Social Norming Campaign Promotes Responsible Choices

The face of one of Will Ferrell’s most popular characters, anchorman Ron Burgundy, has started to appear on posters around campus thanks to Project Wellness and the new Social Norming Campaign. The eye-catching posters are intended to shed light on the results of last year’s Core Survey, which asked students to answer various questions concerning student life including, “Does alcohol make me sexier?”The study discovered that four out of five Colgate students do not believe that alcohol makes them more attractive. The Social Norming Committee decided that this was the most important statistic to come from the survey and began looking for a catchy approach to spread the information around campus.It may seem incongruous that the habitually-intoxicated Burgundy was chosen as the face of the campaign. One memorable line of Burgundy’s, “I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly…” reeks of alcoholism and irresponsible decisions.Nonetheless, the catch phrase, “You stay classy, San Diego” summarizes the Campaign’s mission. By urging Colgate to “Stay Classy,” the campaign hopes to persuade students to make responsible choices by making them aware of how their peers truly perceive alcohol use.”The campaign aims to inform students of how to keep themselves safe and make responsible choices if they are of legal age and choose to drink,” Coordinator of Alcohol and Drug Education Jane Jones said. Postcards were sent out through campus mail and, if students bring the card to the Colgate Hockey game on Saturday night, they will be entered to win an autographed hockey stick or a dinner for two at the Hamilton Inn. As another incentive to hold onto the “Stay Classy Card,” if a BACCHUS member approaches a student on campus during the next week and the student has the card, he or she will be entered into a drawing for a $250 prize.The Social Norming strategy is unique in its approach to promote safe behavior. It gathers information on the actual situation concerning a dangerous behavior among a population – usually students – and feeds it back through a campaign. The results usually dispel generally-accepted myths. Such campaigns are increasingly more popular nationally, especially on college campuses in the form of alcohol and drug awareness.The “Stay Classy, Colgate” campaign uses this social norm approach and the committee hopes it will be more effective as a result of its intention of informing the student body of its own collective opinions.Ron Burgundy may have been inebriated for nearly all of Anchorman’s running time, but hopefully Colgate students will see the satire in this mascot. By plastering the words “Stay Classy, Colgate,” all over campus, the Social Norming Committee hopes the student body will do as Ron Burgundy says and not as he did.