University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa receives $240,000 grant for Social Norms Campaign

Effort to target alcohol abuse, underage drinking on campus

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Jim Manke, (808) 956-6099
Office of the Chancellor - UH Manoa
Posted: Apr 5, 2007

Hawaiʻi Attorney General Mark Bennett and officials from Anheuser-Busch Cos. today presented Denise Eby Konan, interim chancellor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, with a grant check in the amount of $240,000, payable over four years, for the implementation of a social norms project. The initiative, "Expanding the Manoa Alcohol Project," which will build on an existing alcohol awareness program, will promote the use of protective behaviors among university students and help reduce underage and abusive drinking on campus.

"I am pleased to be a part of this joint effort to extend this comprehensive and long-term approach to addressing alcohol issues to the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa campus," said Bennett. "The social norms approach to addressing alcohol issues has proved to be a very effective method of achieving positive behavior change and reducing harm associated with drinking at other universities across the country, and it is making a difference here as well."

The Manoa Alcohol Project (MAP) was developed in 2005 to address the issue of underage drinking at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. MAP is partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education‘s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities. It is designed to reduce high-risk and underage drinking among freshmen in the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa residence halls.

"We are grateful for this gift from Anheuser-Busch and for the opportunity to expand upon our existing alcohol education curriculum," said Konan. "Given the success the social norms approach has shown in educating and empowering students to make responsible decisions about drinking, we believe it is an important component of any comprehensive education program."

Social norms is an area of research in the social sciences that focuses on the impact of norms on people‘s attitudes and behaviors. Using a variety of techniques, the research-based social norms approach offers the opportunity to achieve large-scale, positive behavior change and harm reduction by communicating to students the true responsible behavior of their peers. The goal of this communication is to get students to emulate the positive behavior of the vast majority of students. Social norms programs are being implemented at universities nationwide. Anheuser-Busch has funded programs at Florida State University, Michigan State, Georgetown University, Virginia Commonwealth University, California State-Fresno and the University of Virginia.

"Anheuser-Busch is proud to support the efforts of General Bennett and the University of Hawaiʻi in helping encourage safe, responsible choices by students," said John Kaestner, vice president of Consumer Affairs at Anheuser-Busch Cos., St. Louis. "This grant will further the work already underway at the University. We are confident the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa will experience the same positive results from social norms marketing as have other universities." Kaestner added, "In the past quarter-century, Anheuser-Busch has invested more than $580 million in national advertising campaigns and community-based programs to prevent all forms of alcohol abuse, including underage drinking and drunk driving."