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What has Choices accomplished to date

In 2017, Choices won national recognition by winning the Community Engagement Award of the Australian Financial Review High Education Awards. The project was highly acclaimed by all the judges and demonstrates the on-going importance of Choices in bringing safety message to Year 12 students in the central and north Queensland regions.

CQUniversity News Story

In 2013 Choices won the prestigious Business Higher Education Round Table award (B-HERT) for most outstanding Australian Community Engagement project, recognising the valuable contributions of all the partners to the success of this project. B-HERT has established strategic partnerships in the development of programs that advance education, research and innovation.B-HERT is the only national organisation with members who are leaders in tertiary education, business, industry and research institutions.

2013 B-HERT Award Winners

CQUniversity News Story

Australian National Award

  • 2013 - Winner of the Business Higher Education Round Table B-HERT award for outstanding Community Engagement

Commendation

  • 2009 - Queensland Road Safety Awards

Commissioner’s Lantern Award

  • 2001 - Silver Award for significant program in the area of community policing and crime prevention in the Central Queensland region, Queensland Police Service

Conference Presentation

  • 2004 - Brown, J., Gunning, C., Smart, A., Novisel, J., Turner, R. (2004) Vomit on the dance floor: Unlocking key messages for a safe ‘Schoolies' week using performing arts and peer education strategies. 7th Australian Injury Prevention Conference and 2nd Pacific Rim Safe Communities Conference, Mackay, Australia
  • 2009 - National Schoolies Conference, Lorne, Victoria, September 2009
  • 2009 - Australian Health Promotion Association (Qld Branch) Conference in Townsville, Queensland
  • 2011 - 6th International Conference on Drugs and Young People, Melbourne, Australia
  • 2012 -  Burdekin Crime Prevention and Community Safety Conference, September 2012

Conference Proceedings

  • 2017 -  Brown, J. E. (2016) Enhancing graduate employability through community engagement projects: A case study of leadership in the performing arts. Conference Proceedings of the Commission for the Education of the Professional Musician (CEPROM), International Society of Music Education (ISME), Saint Andrews, Fife, Scotland, 20-23 July 2016, pp 31 – 42. https://www.isme.org/other-publications/ceprom-proceedings-2016-1

Engaged Teaching and Learning Award

  • 2010 - Inaugural Opal Award for Engaged Teaching and Learning, CQUniversity, Australia

International Recognition

  • 2013 -  Second round finalist in the MacJannert Prize for Global Citizenship (Talloires Network, Boston, USA). One of 11 projects selected out of 61 international student/university/community engagement projects.

Refereed Journal Article

  • 2012 -  Quek, L.-H., White, A., Low, C., Brown, J. E., Dalton, N., Dow, D., et al. (2012). Good choices, great future: An applied theatre prevention program to reduce alcohol-related risky behaviours during Schoolies. Drug and Alcohol Review, 1 - 6.

Student-delivered Poster Presentation

  • 2012 - Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance Conference, July 2012, QUT, Brisbane, Australia

Since the inception of the Choices applied theatre project in 1999, over 30,000 Year 12 students in the Central and North Queensland region have seen Choices. Each year, the audience members, school staff and students, are surveyed after the performance, and surveys of students are also conducted at Airlie Beach during the Schoolies event itself. The results of these surveys have been published in a yearly report for the members of the Choices committee and various aspects of this information have been disseminated through international professional conferences, seminars and peer-refereed journal publications.

In 2011, partners in the Choices team collaborated with researchers from the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research (CYSAR) at the University of Queensland to conduct research on the impact of the Choices program in reducing the risk of drinking and other risk behaviours during Schoolies celebrations. The results, published in a refereed journal article in Drug and Alcohol Review 2012, found that "the Choices prevention program reduced the risk of engaging in risky behaviour by 59% even after controlling for the effect of gender, pre-Schoolies drinking, binge drinking and illicit drug use at Schoolies" (Quek, et al., 2012, p. 5). The research made it clear that students who had watched the Choices presentation were able to "translate knowledge acquired during the presentation into behaviours resulting in safer celebration" (Quek, et al., 2012, p. 5).

Choices has also been identified as one of the Mackay Police Service's key crime prevention initiatives in the Mackay region as it specifically targets Year 12 students who have the potential to engage in risky activity during their end of Year 12 Schoolies celebrations. Since Choices' inception, the Queensland Police Service has provided uniformed police officers for the entire length of the tours to all the schools. Uniformed police officers take part in the actual performances and also join the panel discussion at the end of each show allowing the school students to freely ask questions about any of the topics raised in Choices. The presence of uniformed police officers in Choices adds vital credibility to the messages being presented and helps to build positive bridges between the school leavers and the police – an important aspect of crime prevention. In 2008 there were no liquor offences against Mackay students who had seen Choices, yet in the same year many were issued to Townsville students who had not seen the Choices program. This was the main driver behind the expansion of the Choices Applied Theatre project to include the Townsville region from 2009 onwards.