Schoolies risk reduction project earns national award
Published:08 November 2013
Flanked by CQUni supporters, Dr Judith Brown joins Sgt Nigel Dalton from the Qld Police Service to accept the trophy for Best Community Engagement Collaboration on behalf of the Choices program
A focus on risk reduction during Schoolies Week has earned CQUniversity the Best Community Engagement Collaboration award at the recent Business/Higher Education Round Table (B-HERT) awards dinner in Melbourne.
Dr Judith Brown was on hand to represent the Choices Applied Theatre Project, which delivers health, safety and legal messages to thousands of Year 12 students before they depart for Schoolies Week each year.
Taking a harm minimisation approach, Choices uses a comic theatre format of short skits, songs and dances, performed by Theatre students based at CQUniversity Mackay Campus.
Research conducted by the Choices team and the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research at the University of Queensland found that students who had watched the presentation 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.
The Choices team, made up of CQUniversity students and faculty as well as representatives from relevant Queensland State Government agencies, meet regularly throughout the year to oversee the writing of the script, as well as to plan and implement the performance tours of Choices to over 28 secondary schools in North Queensland.
Choices has been performed for 14 consecutive years with more than 230 performances to over 26,000 Year 12 students. In that
time, over 150 CQUniversity Theatre students have been involved as performers, directors, script-writers and choreographers.
The B-HERT Awards were established in 1998 to recognise outstanding achievement in collaboration between business and higher education in the fields of research & development and education & training. The objective of the Awards is to highlight at a national level the benefits of such collaboration and to enhance links between industry and universities.