The perception that all college students spend their spring breaks sprawled out on the beaches of Florida is, well, not always true. Some, including those from Augsburg College’s EPIC (Educating Peers on Issues and Choices) group, used the opportunity to learn more about gambling behavior and gambling addiction.

Through a “Tweets for Treats” social media campaign at Augsburg College on March 12, Northstar helped educate students about problem gambling. In exchange for a treat (small toy or candy item of their choosing) students tweeted or shared on Facebook information about college gambling.

“The students were surprised to learn how many young people engage in gambling,” says Susan Campion, Northstar training manager, who coordinated the event. “They hadn’t considered gambling as something that could develop into a problem.”

“Once you open up a dialog, people share stories about who they know, people who have lost their house from gambling, etc.” says Susan. Some students also reflected on roommates who they thought might be addicted to online gambling.

The goal of the event was to raise awareness about college gambling and to impress upon students how it can become an addiction. Susan estimated that Twitter tweets and Facebook updates may have been viewed by up to 1,000 students.

Northstar’s outreach efforts were well received by the EPIC program, whose mission is to provide an effective peer network to encourage, support, and promote healthful living for all students. The program seeks to make students aware of the issues associated with unhealthy behaviors through education and up-to date information, as well as life skills training to assist students in making healthy lifestyle choices.

If you’d like Northstar to make a presentation to a youth group or other audience, please call Linda Bisdorf at (612) 424-8595 or email at linda@northstarproblemgambling.org.