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Thibodauxville Fall Festival

Hosted by: Nicholls State University Health Services

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

As a college campus, we are aware that underage drinking can have significant negative effects on students’ social, emotional, and academic progress. For that reason, we thoroughly analyze our university’s “CORE Alcohol & Drug Survey for Higher Education” results on substance misuse (specifically drinking). We found that 17 percent of Nicholls students have never consumed alcohol; 53 percent consumed zero alcoholic drinks a week; 47 percent refused a drink in the past 30 days; 50 percent said they do not believe alcohol is a coping mechanism for stress; and 81 percent do not believe the social environment on campus promotes alcohol use. Due to our diligence on campus, our survey results were lower than expected, which has encouraged us to continue our hard work.

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How did a Communities Talk event help you address those issues?

  • Educated youth and parents
  • Built community cohesiveness and support for our efforts
  • Raised awareness of substance abuse and/or underage drinking issues in our community
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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk toolkits
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

The Thibodeauxville Fall Festival is an annual event put on by the local Chamber of Commerce. This year, we made great strides in connecting with students, their parents, and other community supporters. This event allowed us to provide educational materials, like an informational magnet that highlighted our CORE survey results. It also allowed us to have conversations with attendees to dispel the belief that all college students partake in underage drinking.

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What other challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?

  • Lack of awareness of our event or organization
  • A community partner suddenly backing out at the last minute resulting in less traffic to our event.
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How did you overcome these challenges?

Unfortunately, a few days before our event, a local partner was unable to participate, so we were not able to have their table and hands-on activities directly next to our set-up. Without their presence, it made it difficult to engage our attendees the way we had planned. Fortunately, we were able to have a more personal interaction with them by handing out educational materials with statistics from the CORE survey; having one-on-one conversations about common myths and facts about alcohol misuse and drug use on college campuses; and encouraging them to take the surveys provided by the Communities Talk event support staff.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Create a public education campaign to raise awareness and/or change behaviors around underage drinking (i.e., create PSAs and other promotional materials)

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