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This ain't pretty: Campaign aims to reduce binge drinking with sarcastic humor
Brie Maaske
Antelope Staff
Photo by Michael A. Nyffeler
UNKs It Aint Pretty campaign is aimed at students in hopes of curbing the binge drinking trend on and off college campuses. The humorous posters and videos were made possible with the help of UNK student actors and actresses and targeted young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.

Students are eating snacks, enjoying some drinks and each other’s company when they look over and the kid on the futon just peed his pants.  

It wasn’t cool when you were three, and it ain’t cool at 23.

This is the scene depicted on one of the It Ain’t Pretty posters, UNK’s campaign against binge drinking among young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.

It Ain’t Pretty targets UNK students with sarcasm and humor through posters and videos, in hopes of grabbing their attention long enough to educate college students on the risks of binge drinking.

“If you use scare tactics, that is going to turn people off from the whole message. Our thing was how can we make it funny, but relevant at the same time and get the message across,” said Happy Macwan, senior communications major, involved in creating the It Ain’t Pretty campaign.

The creators realize that binge drinking is a problem off campus, as well as on campus, so they plan to address both situations.

One way they hope to do this is to film videos enacting humorous, and very possible situations involving binge drinking, which are available on the website itaintpretty.org.

“We wanted to do something original, so something like someone living in the dorms passed out in the dorm bathroom and his friends find him the next morning— how would the whole situation play out?” Macwan said.

“Not just any bathroom either, but the dirtiest, grimiest, grossest bathroom that no one in their right mind would ever want to sleep on,” added Michael Nyffeler, photographer and visual designer for the It Ain’t Pretty campaign.

They have also created a poster in which a young woman is seen passed out on a table next to a wedding cake.

The individuals aren’t just random actors that the creators gathered for the job—They are all UNK students. “We wanted to use all UNK students and have people on there that people might recognize, because that would resonate more when they saw one of their friends up on a poster or a billboard,” Nyffeler said.

All of the posters and videos direct viewers to visit It Ain’t Pretty at itaintpretty.org, where they will be able to find more information. “The website contains all of the information about what constitutes as binge drinking, what to do to prevent it, what you can do in case your friends are binge drinking or if there is a medical emergency due to binge drinking,” Macwan said.

It Ain’t Pretty is funded through a federally funded grant, SPF SIG (Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant), which was given to a number of organizations throughout Nebraska and the country.

UNK is sub-granted through Buffalo County Community Partners, a local organization which focuses on creating a healthier Buffalo County, was chosen for this grant to focus on drinking and alcohol use, including reducing binge drinking within the age group of 18 to 24. That is where UNK comes in.

 “UNK’s job under this grant is to do two things. One of those is working with the counseling care office here in providing alcohol diversion, counseling and treatment that helps reduce that as well as developing a social norms media campaign that basically tackles these issues,” said Ismael Torres, health education coordinator.

In order to track the effect of the campaign, every two years they send students the American College Health Association National College Health Assessment (ACHANCHA). The survey was most recently sent out on April 1.

“Right now we will use that information. We’ll say that in Spring 2010, ‘X’ amount of students said that they binge drink, and two years from now when the campaign has been out for two years, we will see if the numbers have decreased,” Torres said.

Alcohol diversion classes are also offered to students through UNK’s counseling services on campus, to those who are cited on or off campus. “We work closely with the Buffalo County Sheriffs office and the police department, as well as the judicial officer,” Torres said. “We take that information, and we report it to Community Partners and that’s what basically determines how well we’re doing.”

For more information, visit itaintpretty.org

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