Patrick Trautfield

Cal Poly’s student body is drinking less alcohol than one might think, and the Orfalea College of Business and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences are making sure everyone on campus knows it.

The “Under Four” campaign is aimed at promoting responsible drinking among college students. Not to be confused with an anti-drinking effort, “Under Four” instead encourages students to enjoy their alcohol in moderation.

The campaign is actually presented as a one-quarter option for business students enrolled in the otherwise two-quarter-long senior project course, BUS 464 applied senior project. Professor Mitch Wolf oversees students’ progress in the project. The idea for the campaign originated when studies explored the idea that “most people tend to want to do what their peers do,” Wolf said. Most people “overestimated how much their friends (were) drinking.” Wolf also said that “(if you) tell people the facts, they will in all likelihood model their behavior after what is really happening.”

The program is now in its fourth year, using grant funds from Coors Brewing Co. and Cal Poly. In order to organize the campaign more effectively, the business students have also joined forces this year with students in AGB 406 agribusiness marketing planning.

The continual promotion throughout the year is facilitated by rotating responsibilities every quarter between the business and agribusiness students. Currently, under the guidance of Marianne McGarry Wolf, the agribusiness students are implementing events that were planned during the campaign the year before. Public opinion is crucial to the success of the campaign, so these students will also conduct surveys of about 500 students and, in this way, analyze the data to gauge the level of alcohol awareness in the student body. After their findings are summarized, they will advise the next group of students taking on the following year’s campaign.

During the upcoming winter and spring quarters, students in the business senior project class will continue to execute the marketing events planned, and conduct another batch of surveys to further measure alcohol awareness. They will also cement the plan for the 2007-08 school year.

This year’s campaign focus is on using a designated driver, because during the past few years, all behaviors associated with irresponsible drinking except this one have decreased.

Business senior Brittany Shehi participated in last year’s campaign. Her group used many different methods to get their message across, including press releases sent to local media, ads in the Mustang Daily and even hosting a Pint Night at Marti’s Bar and Grill downtown. The flyers were a particularly crucial part of the effort.

“Having our flyers around campus reminded students and faculty about our campaign during all parts of their day,” Shehi said in an e-mail. “Flyers were posted on stakes outside, in dining areas, hallways, bathrooms and classrooms.”

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