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The Office of Student Health Services has been awarded a $4,200 grant for a Community Outreach Prevention Project by
the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Funding for the project includes a continuation of the current Secret
Shoppers program and meetings of the Old Dominion University Community Coalition to reduce underage and binge drinking.

The Secret Shoppers program hires students who are 21 or older (but look young), to visit local bars/restaurants to
determine if bartenders/servers of alcohol are checking identification cards. This year, bartenders and servers who check the secret shopper's ID and choose not to serve if no ID is presented will receive incentives such as movie tickets or gift
certificates, said Jennifer Foss, director of student health services.

"The Secret Shopper program has been found to have a direct impact on the surrounding community by raising the
awareness of local drinking establishments of the need to check identification," Foss noted.

The program began in the spring 2001 semester with visits to 70 establishments; on these occasions, Secret Shoppers were carded 59 of 70 times. The Virginia ABC office makes follow-up visits to establishments where Secret Shoppers were not carded and issues a citation if underage patrons are served alcohol.

As part of the effort, a newsletter is published and sent to the local drinking establishments to anonymously report the results of Secret Shopper visits. The Community Coalition meetings will focus on perceptions of high school seniors regarding drinking in college, and will use a social-norms approach to target unrealistic perceptions of drinking in college.

The author and coordinator for the grant is Phoebe Butler, health education coordinator for the Office of Student Health
Services. The grant was developed with the university's Alcohol and Drug Task Force, which includes members on and off campus.

This article was posted on: October 17, 2001

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.