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SAMs win with “It’s a Slam Dunk Never Drive Drunk” campaign

SAMs win with “It’s a Slam Dunk Never Drive Drunk” campaign


By Alli Bates ‘16

Otterbein University Student Athlete Mentors (SAMs) Jude Burnside, Abby Rogers, Chad Karnes and Cam Arminio won a national social media contest sponsored by TEAM Coalition, an organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, that promotes responsible drinking.

“SAM's is a group of four students who are available as resources for students and the Otterbein community to use when it comes to alcohol consumption and the choices regarding it,” said Rogers. “We work a lot with student athletes, but have also been incorporating Greek life.”

The contest served as a reminder to college students to never drink and drive. It took place at the APPLE Conference in Charlottesville, Va. —a conference dedicated to substance abuse prevention and health promotion for student athletes entirely developed and organized by the University of Virginia’s Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

“For the social media contest, each of the 40 schools had to create a hashtag using your school mascot and the tag line ‘never drive drunk.’ We had about 12 hours to get the hashtag trending on Twitter within the university,” said Rogers.

Otterbein’s SAMs had more than 200 total tweets, more than any of the 40 universities attending the conference. Burnside, Rogers, Karnes and Arminio each won an Alcohoot, a smartphone breathalyzer that allows users to measure blood alcohol levels. The app also tracks the results and can order a taxi if needed.

“The most challenging part of the contest was the fact that we are a smaller school compared to many other universities that were there. We have fewer students than the larger schools, so we were nervous they would easily surpass us when it came to the number of tweets,” Rogers said. “Turns out, we were able to reach a lot of students easier due to the fact that everyone is engaged on campus and our Otterbein community is so close.”

The APPLE Conferences are the leading national training symposiums dedicated to substance abuse prevention and health promotion for student athletes and athletic department administrators. Their goal is to assist colleges in promoting student athlete health and wellness by empowering teams of student-athletes and administrators to create an institution-specific action plan. The APPLE Conference offers teams of student athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, administrators, and alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) prevention specialists an opportunity to evaluate the ATOD environment within their athletics departments, thus developing specific action plans to enhance prevention efforts.