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I bet you have been wondering where we got our “facts” aka stats from in regards to our “Most of Us” campaign. Well, we wanted to make sure we were up front about everything, so we hope you find the information and links below, helpful.
Where did we get that data?!
ACHA: The American College Health Assessment also known as the American College Health Association’s (ACHA) National Collegiate Health Assessment (NCHA).
SVSU is affiliated with the American College Health Association (ACHA) who does the National Collegiate Health Assessment (NCHA). In 2012, SVSU received IRB approval to have the ACHA send their health assessment, at random, to about 2,000 of our students. There were 729 participants. ACHA then compiled the results then sent them to SVSU, which is where we got our information from. We highlight several statistics but our students were asked a lot of questions regarding their health habits, including if they wore a seatbelt while riding in a car, wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle and how many servings of fruits and vegetables they were eating. To see more questions and answers that we did not highlight, check out the actual results at the bottom of the page.
With every survey one could question honesty of participants and clear representation of the sample size. We know that this gives us a snapshot of SVSU student health and allows us to take a step in the direction that students need. PHE bases the majority of their programming off of these statistics.
Who filled this out?
Demographics from the SVSU's ACHA NCHA Results
Even after reading information that supports the validity of this study, people will still disregard it, but why? There is a misperception that all college students do is drink alcohol, smoke whatever, and have sex… all the time. What’s interesting to point out is the same students that we asked about their health behaviors reported what they believed their peers were doing and this is what we found.
Check out this ACHA Reported Use vs. Perceived Use (392kB) we made for the information below.
Students believed that their peers were drinking larger amounts of alcohol more often, smoking weed and cigarettes, and having sex with lots of people. Now is that because this is what we are taught to believe about college life and this age group? Or, could it be on observation?
Well, what we tell our students is…
We have 10,000 students at SVSU (roughly) and how many do they know or have seen in the classroom, hallway, or parties? We take it a step further challenging them to observe their Facebook friends. How many people do you know that attend SVSU, 100? 200? 1000? Then look at your friends, there are people they you know they do drink, might smoke weed or cigarettes, or have sex with multiple partners but you also know people that don’t.
Sometimes when people hear the statistics they automatically think of the few people they know that do it. We know there are people out there that are and we did have people admit that in the survey, but "most of us" are doing the right thing and we want to highlight the good things that college students are doing.
Another way to think about it
PHE once brought up this statistics in front of a group on campus and had mentioned that someone had identified that group to be known for tailgating. Half of the group was ecstatic that they were known for their school pride, the other half of the group felt it was degrading and not representative of what they do. (This group is known for donating money and participating in several service projects).
As the group started to get rowdy over this discussion, one member stood up and put it into perspective. He said, “There are maybe 20 members at tailgate, 10 who are drinking, 5 who are obviously intoxicated. People will only remember the drunk ones because they are falling over each other, acting inappropriately, or getting into trouble. The problem is that those 5 people represent the 10 that are drinking, even if the other 5 are doing so responsibly, but those 10 drinking represent the 20 there at tailgate, even if they are not drinking. Ultimately, the 5 represent the 10, that represents the 20, which represents the organization of about 50 members. People don’t think of the members not drinking but the one that was causing a riot.”
Even though this example was of a particular group, I think it is applicable to college students as a whole. The few students that do get in trouble or are drinking irresponsibly, represents the students drinking, and then ultimately the student body.
Now that you are aware of the statistics, really take a look around and see how many people you know on campus. Then really look at how many you know for sure, not based on assumption, who do/do not do fall into the statistics. It might be eye opening. We tend to not notice things until they are brought to our attention. [Side note: This is why when you go to buy a car or something new, you think no one else has it then once you get it, you notice everyone has it. You don't realize it until it is brought to your attention.]
Seem a little skewed? It can be. If you feel that everyone you know is doing it, they could be because you might have friends that drink often or are heavy drinkers, or fall into other high-risk categories. Again, the 2-20 people you hang out with isn't a representative sample of SVSU students.
As proud as we are about these statistics about SVSU students regarding their health behaviors, they do not rank much different than other schools nationally. This is why we are providing the information/data on national compilation of all the schools that participated in the ACHA's NCHA. Not surprisingly, even their students at their schools had a hard time believing that college students could actually live relatively healthy lives.
NCHA - Reference Group (154kB)
Actual SVSU Results
Okay, okay, you still don't believe us... well check it out for yourself.
Executive Summary for SVSU (114kB)
Institutional Data for SVSU (402kB)