The BURG Peer Education Network at Frostburg State University recently received national recognition by taking a cue from a hit TV show's hour-by-hour effort to save the world to create an innovative new substance abuse prevention program for college students.
The BURG Peer Education Network is an FSU organization that is dedicated to creating a safe college campus by promoting healthy lifestyles through educational programs and fun social activities. The group won a national award in the category of “Best Educational Program” at the National BACCHUS General Assembly Nov. 11 in Anaheim, Calif., for its pilot educational outreach PowerPoint presentation titled “Frostburg 24.” Borrowing stylish plot elements from FOX’s popular TV show, “24,” the 24-minute-long “Frostburg 24” educates students about risk reduction and protective factors regarding alcohol through the espionage antics of the program’s characters, Jack and Chloe, played by FSU peer educators.
“We incorporate our social-norm statistics through our characters,” said Don Swogger, who serves as network adviser for the group, and designed “Frostburg 24” with the help of his son.
“Frostburg 24” also uses interactive, multi-media technology to hold students’ attention and keep them engaged: for example, in one segment, Jack uses his cell phone to take a picture of FSU students at a party and sends it to Chloe, and the image appears on a cell phone in the PowerPoint presentation. Students in the audience watching the program are then invited to use clickers to submit anonymous answers to questions about how they handle specific social situations. Their responses are quickly processed and appear in a histogram as part of the PowerPoint imagery.
In addition to receiving an award, the BURG Peer Education Network also was recognized with new representation responsibilities. Amber O’Kane, a third-year peer educator from Hagerstown, Md., was selected to be SAC (Student Advisory Committee) for region 12. O’Kane is a recreation major with a minor in psychology. She served as BURG President last year and is currently serving as past president.
“O’Kane will represent our region and work with other peer education networks to enhance their programs,” Swogger said. “She’ll also help plan next year’s General Assembly in Atlanta.”
Other students who attended the conference included Crystal Alexander; Andrew Crouse; Sara Hartman; Melinda Croft; Kristin Adams; Andrew Heinaman; Bobby Bonser; Amanda Demler; Kelli Garner; Ben Erzkus; Shawan Jones; Brie Bollino (President). Dr. Spencer Deakin, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, also was present at the event.
For more information about FSU, contact the Office of Admissions at (301) 687-4201 or visit the university’s Web site at www.frostburg.edu. For more details about the BURG program, call (301) 687-4761.