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DUSA - Alcohol Culture Change Project

Deakin University Student Association (DUSA), supported by VicHealth and the Deakin University Alcohol Culture Change Project team aimed to improve drinking culture with the ‘Deakin Dragons’ team at the September 2018 Division 1 UniSport Nationals competition.

The Deakin University project is part of VicHealth’s Alcohol Culture Change Initiative, which is guided by the VicHealth Alcohol Culture Framework, and supports nine Victorian-wide interventions to change risky drinking cultures. The projects aim to change the way people drink alcohol by building a culture of peer-support for low risk drinking and positively influencing the physical and social environments in which risky drinking may take place.

DUSA aimed to shift drinking cultures by including alcohol free team bonding activities, as well as a range of innovative evidence-based Project strategies including:

  • Chef de Mission: Olympian and Deakin Alumni Brooke Hanson; OAM. The aim is to be a positive role model and to work with Uni Nationals athletes to foster an environment that enables them to compete at their best.

  • Sports Team Manager Leadership training: Aiming to upskill and empower Team Managers to work with their teams to change attitudes and assist them to make better decisions in relation to risky drinking behaviours.

  • Targeted Messages campaign: A social media and poster campaign co-designed by Deakin University students that was phased in to align with the competition schedule.

  • Mocktail alcohol free event: Aiming to facilitate inclusion as a non-drinker by providing non-alcohol alternatives. Mocktails can eliminate unnecessary social pressures, and remove social stigma to create a safer, more inclusive drinking culture. The winning mocktails will be incorporated onto a Burwood campus café menu.

Reports from staff, the Chef de Mission, and students themselves indicated that the Division 1 UniSport Nationals were a great success with far fewer negative impacts of alcohol, a more fun and positive culture, and achieved greater success in the competition.

Further information about the VicHealth Alcohol Culture Change Initiative can be found at:

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