It's called "Fun in the 505," and the UNM Campus Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (COSAP) hopes a new informative booklet outlining a myriad of things to do in the "505" is a hit with students.

The booklet was researched, designed and created for UNM students by students in the COSAP office as an alcohol-free alternative for activities in the Albuquerque-area. The booklet is broken down into a variety of categories including "Adventurous," "Intellectual & Artsy," "Hungry" and "Musical," and lists various ideas, addresses, phone numbers and website information designed to provide students with "fun things to do."

"There is quite a bit of research that says if you provide students with alcohol-free alternatives and safe ideas to have fun, they are more likely to participate and engage with other students in these activities," said John Steiner, COSAP program manager. "There is science involved with what we included and where we placed it in the book."

Other sections include "Stressed," which offers students ideas on ways to combat stress, "Random," "Local" and a section on when students might be "Tipsy," that offers safe ways and means to get home.

The booklet was developed over the course of a year by the COSAP team. The idea evolved after Steiner discovered information in a pamphlet someone brought back from a conference on alcohol awareness that gave students at an Illinois school 101 fun things to do without alcohol. It was a low-tech effort Steiner thought his crew could do better.

"COSAP is the only UNM on-campus program that works to support the student population with a wide array of substance abuse prevention strategies, services and information to ensure the safety, success and well-being of UNM students," said Steiner.

Also in the booklet is a page before each category titled "Did You Know," which evolves from social norms campaigns. The idea is to provide the stats on what "is" the ACTUAL rather than PERCEIVED alcohol behaviors on campus and to focus on the POSITIVE things kids are doing. COSAP data indicates that MOST of the Lobos are already using alcohol safely. The social norms aspect attempts to get students thinking about their behavior in relation to the norms on their own campus.

COSAP will be tabling at various times during the first few weeks of the Fall semester at UNM's Welcome Back Days near the Duck Pond, and also in the Student Union Building on Friday, Aug. 31 through Friday, Sept. 21 to provide students with free copies of the booklet and to answer any questions they may have about alcohol and or substance abuse.

The booklet is available at all of UNM's Residence Halls, Lobo Village and the new Casas del Rio. Additionally, students may also obtain a copy of the booklet at the COSAP office located in Room 3059 at Mesa Vista Hall, where they can also ask personal and confidential questions related to alcohol and substance abuse.

To learn more, visit: COSAP.

Media contact: Steve Carr, (505) 277-1821; email: scarr@unm.edu