CLICK IT FOR STEPH: A SAFETY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN Colorado Mountain College Glenwood Springs, COKatie S. Richard W. Brooke L. Jessica A. Tyler P. Melanie A. Brittney M. Erick Z. Alex C. Nick S. Abbie K. Promoting Safety with Dum-Dum’s and Chocolate
In the Face of Tragedy…On the night of October 20, 2011, four ColoradoMountain College students were involved in a seriouscar accident… three survived. Stephenie Jo Zgorzynskidied on the way to the hospital after being thrownfrom the car that had rolled multiple times. Thesurvivors each sustained injuries serious enough torequire at least a one night stay in the hospital. Injuriesincluded: a broken back, broken elbow and deepfacial lacerations. Because Steph had not beenwearing her seatbelt, CMC’s PEAK Performancedecided that it was necessary to raise awarenessabout the five seconds it takes to buckle a seatbelt.
Turning Adversity into ActionAfter the accident, we as ahealth and wellness group,knew that we needed to act.We spent time planning ourcampaign, always remainingrespectful to anyone that wasinvolved. Rather than a one-day event, we, as PEAK,decided to repeat our eventevery few weeks at multiplelocations to interact with asmany people as possible while Each PEAK member had an equal role in planning and participating in eachreinforcing the importance of event that took place. Jobs includedwearing a seatbelt- no matter making signs, handing out candy bars,how short the drive! photographing, planning, collaboration, shopping, and organizing materials (signs, bracelets, candy).
A Team Effort to Promote SafetyWe made signs to encourage safe driving butout efforts were our main advertising: asstudents, faculty, and community membersdrove in and out of campus, we gave themfull-size candy bars if they were wearingseatbelts and passed Dum-Dum lollipops tothose who were not. Engaging with those who stopped was immensely more effective than putting up signs or holding a one-time event. Handing out candy bars every couple weeks encouraged safety and everyone was happy about it… even the bicyclist that got a Snickers for wearing his helmet!
CMC PEAK Makes NOYS!Raising awareness and speaking in honor of Steph,CMC’s PEAK Performance dedicated days todistracted driving simulators, distracted drivingprograms and of course our flagship SeatbeltAwareness Program. Unlike Tyler Presnell, featured byNOYS, Steph did not survive a car crash. For monthsour student body focused on the tragedy, but we, asPEAK, decided that it was time to reach out to ourcommunity. Collaborating with Student Government and Phi Theta Kappa, we planted a tree at the Vet Tech Farm where Steph spent all her days taking classes and riding horses. Inspired in part by what Dianne Feldman did for her daughter Casey, this tree will live on as a memorial for Steph.
Everyday AwarenessIn an effort to create a permanent reminder of thedangers of not wearing a seatbelt, PEAK purchasedsigns to be hung around campus. The signs read: “ClickIt 4 Steph. In loving memory of Steph Jo Zgorzynski3/20/93 – 10/20/11” We plan to expand thisawareness by purchasing more signs and extending thereach from the campus community to the localcommunity. By doing this, we hope to prevent futureaccidents by reminding everyone leaving campus tofasten their seatbelts.
Community EffortsThroughout this process, othergroups on campus became veryinterested in what we were doingand because of this wecollaborated with many of themon our efforts. These groupsinclude: Student Activities Council,Vet Tech program, Women’sForum, Student GovernmentCampus Store, Roaring Fork Co-op, Residence Life Staff, StudentAmbassadors, Glenwood localnursery, and CMC Administration. Calla Fisher, the young women in the frontThe help that we received from row second from the left was one of theoutside sources led to the successof this program. passengers in the accident. She sustained a serious back injury that effected her everyday life. She was an active participant and eager to join our efforts.
Continuing Efforts Taking inspiration from the Oprah Winfrey show we continued our efforts to educate students on distracted driving. “No Phone Zone” is a program that informs students not only of the dangers of using a cellular phone while diving but other forms of distraction as well. At the end of the event we invited students to sign a pledge (below picture) stating they would not use their phone while driving.Seeing the braceletson the NOYS website,our group decided tomake our own “Click ItFor Steph” braceletsto honor Steph.
Response and Feedback “The PEAK students chose to create a positive outcome from a tragic student accident. We all need to be reminded of the importance of ALWAYS wearing seatbelts and the “Click it for Steph” campaign does this while memorializing“ ‘Click It For Steph’ is an excellent a caring, loving student whose life ended soexample of how our students turned unexpectedly.” –Lisa Doak, CMC Dean ofa tragic event into a respectful Student Affairslearning opportunity for the studentsas well as college personnel. PEAKPerformance developed innovativestrategies that not only changedbehavior but ultimately saved lives.Their dedication to respectfullyhonoring a student’s memory is aninspiration to us all.” –Mark McCabe(Assistant Vice President of StudentAffairs)
The Big Picture The responses we have received from the community have been very supportive and positive. We truly feel like we have made an impact on students with these efforts and this is apparent through the increased involvement on campus. When we began this campaign, our overall goal was to highlight the preventable nature of this tragedy. Taking action gave our students that were directly involved an emotional outlet, something positive to focus on, and a sense of accomplishment. We will continue the “Click It For Steph” campaign in upcoming semesters at CMC. Our future goals are: purchase more traffic signs for the community, continue with the candy bar seatbelt campaign, extend the bracelet giveaway, and never forget Stephenie Jo Zgorzynski.Click it for Safety Click it for Steph Click it for You
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