A T-shirt design contest within the department will work to increase student awareness about alcohol safety just in time for spring break, said Ruth Kershner, a professor in the Department of Community Medicine.

 "I believe student-generated messages can illicit awareness in students in a unique manner. Student humor and design can be a good message for others," Kershner said.

 The winning T-shirt design should be original and creative but tasteful, too, Kershner said.

Kershner said it's important to distribute the T-shirts prior to spring break to remind students to stay safe and responsible while having fun away from school.

 "We want people to think about their actions over the break," she said. "Sadly, every year you hear stories about students, alcohol and destructive decisions that result in death or injury."

 Though the message has been promoted by the department in the past, Kershner said she hopes doing it in a clever and creative way will help students consider it seriously.

 "It is an important message because there are many students, even those over 21, who may act out on occasion," she said. "I think that there is a need to strongly encourage safe and responsible drinking behaviors, especially involving vehicles."

Kershner said contests like this one support one of the main goals of the Department of Community Medicine: to educate students about various aspects of health and safety.

 "The Department of Community Medicine works diligently to expand knowledge, change attitudes and promote responsible behaviors in a number of aspects of health," she said.

 Design idea submissions are due at noon Feb. 17.

 Those interested can submit electronic submissions of a 300 DPI JPEG file to rkershner@hsc.wvu.edu or send a high quality 8.5-by-11 inch print version to the Department of Community Medicine, P.O. Box 9190, Morgantown, W.Va. 26506.

 The winning artist will receive an Apple iPad.

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