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Skidmore College

Skidmore College Social Norms Campaign

September 3, 2014

Skidmore College Social Norms Campaign

September 3, 2014

The College’s Office of Health Promotion is rolling out an awareness campaign designed to inform incoming first-year students, as well as the entire Skidmore community, that most Skidmore students really do make healthy and responsible choices.

Skidmore Social Norms
A sample poster that will be on campus this fall.

The goal of the multi-year campaign is to give students information to keep them healthy and safe by correcting misperceptions about “normal” student behaviors. According to Kimberly Devore, prevention coordinator, Research shows that people often overestimate the prevalence of negative behaviors and underestimate the positive, protective behaviors of their peers. Also, if an individual believes that a majority of his or her peers are engaging in a certain behavior, he or she is more likely to follow suitThe aim is to dispel misperceptions about what’s “normal” by providing true and accurate data to the community.

The Skidmore College Social Norms Campaign begins by addressing substance use. Kimberly Devore, prevention coordinator, and peer health educators Norah Crossnohere ‘14, Romeo Makore ‘15 and Shirah Hill-Cohen ‘16 analyzed data from the AlcoholEdu survey that was administered to all incoming Skidmore students in 2013 prior to and again several weeks into their first year on campus. They discerned a clear picture about the healthy and responsible behaviors of a majority of those first-year students. 

Skidmore social norms
A decorated poster in one of the residence halls.

To create a fun, interactive, approachable way to share the truth about students’ drinking habits, the team is using images of Skids Scribner, Skidmore’s beloved mascot. Once the statistics were pinpointed, graphic artist Meghan Murray ’16 created illustrations of Skids and friends that reflect and underscore the data sets and themes. Each month throughout the 2014­–15 academic year the campaign will feature a healthy behavioral norm that students identify as typical for them. The messages will be highly visible around campus, and students will have the opportunity to partake in entertaining activities (with prizes!) that demonstrate their decision-making skills and responsible choices.

The social-norms team hopes to empower students to continue their healthy, sensible behaviors and, in turn, to help build a wider campus culture that mirrors their values and habits.

To learn more or collaborate on future projects, contact Kimberly Devore at 518-580-5484 or


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