Student Health Services launches e-CHUG
February 22, 2007
Student Health Services has always offered a variety of health-related resources to students on the UW-River Falls campus, from counseling services to personal wellness brochures. In fall 2006, e-CHUG, an online survey designed to help students assess their personal drinking habits, was introduced. Students can access the survey through the Student Health Services Web site. All answers are confidential, so students are encouraged to answer honestly to ensure accurate feedback.
After spending several minutes answering a variety of questions, the student is provided with a drinking profile with comparisons and statistics specifically aimed at college students.
For example, calorie intake from alcohol is translated into cheeseburgers. Health education coordinator Keven Syverson said he thinks e-CHUG will give students data that is more useful and easier to understand.
“It’s in terms that students get,” Syverson said.
While e-CHUG is available through the UWRF Web site, it does not belong to the University. It is owned by San Diego State University, using data provided by UWRF officials. The University pays a yearly access fee to make it available to students. This year the money came from grants, but whether or not the program stays in place in the future will depend on its rate of success, as well as availability of funding.
“We’ll take a look at it this summer and go from there — see what the vibe is,” Syverson said. “How to pay for it, yes, but it’s really about seeing what fits our needs best.”
Alice Reilly-Myklebust, director of Student Health Services, said UWRF focuses on monitoring students’ physical and mental health and e-CHUG can be a tool to do just that.
“We try to be about prevention and promotion,” Reilly-Myklebust said. Originally, e-CHUG was put in place to educate first-time underage drinking offenders. Student Alex Gehin, who recently took the survey, speculated as to the reason behind its implementation.
“I think what was happening was that kids would get drinking tickets, then the parents would just pay it off and the students wouldn’t learn,” Gehin said.
She was right, Syverson said. There has always been a disciplinary aspect when it comes to underage drinking on campus, but nothing to help students learn from getting caught.
“We never had an educational mechanism [for underage offenders],” Syverson said. “There was always just the punitive aspect. It’s a way to get students to at least look at their alcohol use.” However, the program has expanded campus-wide and is now advertised on posters throughout campus, encouraging any and all students to try it out.
Every three years, the American College Health Association conducts the National College Health Assessment on campuses in the UW System. Students are randomly selected to answer questions about alcohol and other drug use and the results are later posted for anyone to view.
Syverson said there is a possibility that the generalized data Student Health Services receives from e-CHUG could eventually be organized into a similar format for interested students, faculty and the public to view.
“It’s good to get an overall summary, a picture of people on campus,” Syverson said. “It provides us with a lot of data that helps us with programming efforts. We think this’ll be a good resource for everyone.”
To take the survey, go to http://www.uwrf.edu/student - health-service/welcome.htm and click the e-CHUG link.