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2011 News Releases

PSA safety video by Longwood students wins statewide contest

September 29, 2011

Longwood University

Longwood University's student-developed PSA video highlights the consequences involved with alcohol abuse including a hazy encounter with police. 

A video produced by Longwood University students has won a statewide contest for public service announcements about public safety.

The governor's office announced Sept. 28 that the Longwood video garnered the most votes among the three finalists in the College Safety and Violence Prevention PSA Challenge, hosted by the Governor's Office for Substance Abuse Prevention. Videos produced by students at Virginia Intermont College, Wytheville Community College and Longwood were announced as finalists on Aug. 2, having been chosen from among 11 entries in competition that was open to all students enrolled in any Virginia public, private, four-year, or two-year college or university. More than 6,600 votes were cast. The voting, which ended Aug. 26, was open to the public and was done online.

The 30-second video, "It Only Takes One Night to Change Your Life," was produced by Longwood students Kendall Beebe, Leigh Cupitt and Max Duchaine (all three of whom graduated in 2011) and was coordinated by Sasha Gregory, wellness coordinator in the Student Health and Wellness Center. Jeff Halliday, assistant professor of communication studies, assisted in supervising the production team. Beebe was an intern in the Wellness Center, and Duchaine was completing an independent study for Halliday. The video highlights the consequences involved with alcohol abuse and ends with a hazy encounter with police.

"All of us at Longwood University applaud the excellent work by our students who created this public service announcement to deliver an important message for all college students," Longwood President Patrick Finnegan said. "We're proud of what they have done and the recognition they've received.

"I sincerely hope that their work will result in increased awareness of the dangers of substance abuse. In addition, I commend the Longwood and Farmville communities, as well as our alumni and friends, who took the time to vote for Longwood's PSA. This endeavor is just another example of our students' overall commitment to service as part of citizen leadership and the spirit of Longwood."

Longwood's electoral victory in the contest was the result of an intensive get-out-the-vote effort, which included numerous posts on Facebook and Twitter. At one point early in the voting, Virginia Intermont was leading by about 200 votes, and on the Tuesday of the final week, Wytheville Community College led by about 200 votes. Longwood entered the final day of voting trailing by 50 votes.

"The whole community really came together on this, with emails across campus and Facebook posts and tweets from students, staff, faculty, local community members, and local businesses," said Dr. Mary Jo Stockton, web technology coordinator in the Web Communications office.

In a statement after the recent announcement by the governor's office, the three-student production team thanked people for their support. "We are very excited and honored to have won this competition. It was a tremendous feeling knowing that so many people recognized and supported our efforts to make college campuses safer places for students, faculty members and community members. We would like to thank everyone who voted for us, our friends, family and complete strangers. We would also like to extend a gracious thanks to everyone at Longwood University and in the Town of Farmville for helping us make this video happen."

The Longwood video will air on television stations across Virginia. A reception at Longwood with Gov. Bob McDonnell will also be announced in the coming months.

"Maureen (his wife) and I are very impressed by the quality of all of the entries to this important PSA challenge, and we are particularly touched by the poignant video created by the Longwood University team," McDonnell said in a Facebook post. "We hope this video not only showcases the creativity and hard work of the entrants, but also conveys important life-saving messages to peers at all colleges and universities in Virginia."