Thursday, February 3, 2011

PSA contest aims to reduce underage drinking in Connecticut

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Connecticut, Inc.; Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell; state police Lt. J. Paul Vance; Central Connecticut State University Vice President Student Affairs Dr. Laura Tordenti; Catherine LeVasseur, of the Governor’s Prevention Partnership; and professor Jeff Teitler of CCSU, teamed up Thursday to announce the kick off of the fourth annual WSWC PSA Contest.

Entrants are called to submit a 30-second television public service announcement addressing how peer pressure contributes to underage drinking and/or to illustrate how serving as a positive role model can help others not to drink as a means to help reduce underage drinking in Connecticut, according to a statement.

“The WSWC PSA Contest sends a strong message Connecticut needs to hear. To keep kids safe, parents must take an active, involved role in preventing drinking and making sure their children understand the dangers of underage drinking," Farrell said in the statement.

"The WSWC PSA Contest gives Connecticut college students a chance to show off their talent to the public as well as send a serious message about underage drinking," the statement said.
Any student enrolled at any Connecticut college or university or a Connecticut resident may participate in the contest, the statement said.
Student teams from the University of New Haven, Sacred Heart University, University of Hartford, Quinnipiac University, and Eastern, Western, and Central Connecticut state universities all participated in last year’s competition, the statement said.

“Youth are drinking too much, too early and too often; according to the 2009 CT School Health Survey, nearly two in 10 (18 percent) of CT youth start drinking before age 13” Catherine LeVasseur, program Manager at the Governor’s Prevention Partnership, said, also in the statement.

Peter Berdon, executive director of the WSWC, said, also in the statement: “Now in its fourth year the college PSA contest is doing an amazing job of bringing underage drinking awareness to the forefront in Connecticut. We are proud of the students from our colleges and universities that have embraced the contest and it continues to grow each year."

Last year’s winning PSA was televised over 500 times on local and cable stations, the statement said.

Teitler, also advisor for last year’s winning PSA said: “The Department of Communication at CCSU was thrilled to engage our production students within issues of injury prevention as part of the WSWC’s PSA competition. Collaborations such as these, which inspire students statewide to create on meaningful issues are both relevant and important.”

All entries will be displayed at the University of New Haven on April 26 at an Awards Ceremony that will include forensic scientist Henry Lee as keynote speaker, the statement said. Entries will be judged by an independent panel of experts. The winning PSA will be telecast on local broadcast and cable stations.

Application for entry forms confirming intent to enter the contest are due to WSWC by Feb. 16. Final submissions are due by April 6.

Last year’s first-place winner and recipient of a $2,500 cash prize was “Team Independent” from Central Connecticut State University, the statement said. The team consisted of Josh Therriault and advisor Jeff Teitler.
“Team S.W.E.E.T.” of Sacred Heart University placed second and was awarded a $1,500 cash prize, the statement said. The team represented the school’s Health & Wellness group and was advised by Karen Flanagan.
The third place team and recipient of a $1,000 cash prize was team “Ghost” from Eastern Connecticut State University advised by Chris Ayeni and Denise Matthews, the statement said.

The WSWC is working in collaboration with The Governor’s Prevention Partnership and other community stakeholders to achieve the common goal of reducing underage drinking in Connecticut. Contact Jackie Carlino, Community Programs Manager at 203-624-9900 or for additional information.

Shown in photo, l to r:  Tom Simpson, WSWC board member; Catherine LeVasseur, program manger Governor’s Prevention Partnership; Josh Therriault, CCSU student winner of the 2010 contest; Lt. J. Paul Vance; Dr. Laura Tordenti, VP Student Affairs CCSU; Commissioner Jerry Farrell, Department of Consumer Protection; Professor Jeff Teitler, CCSU advisor to 2010 winning entry; Peter Berdon, Executive Director Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of CT (contest sponsor)

Editor's Note: All information in this post was contributed.

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