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News Release


"Good Neighbor" Campaign Targets Neighborhood Perceptions of UAlbany Student Drinking Habits

Contact: Heidi Weber (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 4, 2003) -- The University at Albany has launched a public awareness campaign aimed at residents of Albany's Pine Hills and Beverwyck neighborhoods. The campaign entitled "Helping UAlbany Students be Your Good Neighbors," aims to inform residents about what UAlbany is doing to educate students on alcohol misuse, counter current misperceptions about UAlbany students and let residents know about the University's work to help students be good neighbors.

According to the University Police Department's director of personal safety and off-campus affairs and chairperson of the Committee on University & Community Relations Thomas Gebhardt, "Alcohol and other drug prevention is a top priority at UAlbany. This public awareness campaign is just one of our many efforts to address alcohol-related issues. We want neighbors of the University to know that we care about them, our students and the neighborhoods in which they reside. This campaign will allow us to further reach out to our neighbors, as well as distribute accurate information about student drinking habits and correct any misperceptions that may exist."

The campaign, which will run through March, consists of a series of mailings, posters and the University's twelve-year-old Off-Campus Hotline number.

UAlbany is a leader in campus alcohol and drug abuse prevention initiatives. According to Albany Police Department Reports, in the past decade, neighborhood noise-related arrests are down 100 percent, DWI arrest are down 33 percent and all alcohol-related arrests are down 35 percent. In addition, according to a UAlbany survey, today's typical UAlbany student consumes zero to four drinks when attending a party and 68 percent "sometimes" or "usually" choose not to drink alcohol at all.

The University's Committee on University and Community Relations has impacted student alcohol use by creating an effective partnership with local tavern owners in order to promote responsible alcohol advertising and responsible behavior at their establishments. The committee, consisting of local tavern owners, university professionals, students, long-term neighbors, landowners, law enforcement representatives from the city of Albany and the University at Albany, staff from most colleges in Albany and the New York State Liquor Authority, is nationally recognized in the area of university-community coalitions for the prevention of alcohol misuse and underage drinking.

UAlbany embraces a social norms approach to addressing alcohol misuse. The core of social norms intervention is to advance reality over perception. The presence of alcohol within college life might be a reality for some, yet students often overestimate the amount and frequency of alcohol use by others. This misperception overshadows the reality of alcohol use and its role on campus.
"We've had great success using the social norms approach on campus with students and we're eager to take our initiatives to the next level by reaching out to those outside of the University. Our visible leadership along with assistance from the community will help us with our mission of supporting the health and safety of our students and also helping our students to be good neighbors," said Dolores Cimini, a licensed psychologist and director of the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program, University Counseling Center, Division of Student Affairs.

The campaign is funded by a $12,500 grant from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

For more information about social norms, visit the National Social Norms Resource Center at


Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and colleges. The University is engaged in a $500 million fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in its history, with the goal of placing it among the nation's top 30 public research universities by the end of the decade. For more information about this nationally ranked University, visit

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