TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Recent film school graduate and former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal visited The University of Alabama today to direct a public service announcement video for the LessThanUThink campaign.
O’Neal worked with students on LessThanUThink, an award-winning, student-generated campaign designed to address the national issue of college-age binge drinking, as well as students from the University’s telecommunication and film department.
O’Neal and The Century Council, a key funder of the campaign, joined forces in 2011 to fight binge drinking on college campuses. O’Neal, who recently attended film director’s school, worked alongside the students to bring their voice to life by producing a student-created video addressing the national issue of college-age binge drinking.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange joined O’Neal and a student from the LessThanUThink campaign at a press conference after the video shoot to discuss the importance of college students educating their peers on the negative social and physical consequences of binge drinking.
“It is a pleasure to be at the University of Alabama today. The LessThanUThink campaign is giving a voice to college binge drinking that has not yet been heard, and this voice has significant power to influence the students and make a mark in preventing binge drinking,” said Attorney General Strange. “I applaud Shaq for dedicating his time and effort to such an important cause. His willingness to invest a significant amount of energy in finding a solution to this problem is notable and no doubt raises additional awareness to the issue.”
From Feb. 27 through March 9, LTUT held a contest for University students to come up with their own PSA storyboard ideas. The top three submissions were sent to O’Neal, who selected the storyboard by Crystal Deuel, an advertising major from Hartselle, as the winner.
“I was so excited when I was told I had been selected as the winner,” Deuel said. “Getting to meet Shaq today was an incredible experience and one that I’m sure I will never forget.”
The video will utilize the campaign’s unique approach of using humor to highlight the negative social and physical consequences of binge drinking in an effort to educate students about the issue.
Students from the fall semester’s LTUT team campaigned to bring O’Neal to the University through the “#GetShaq2UA” initiative on Twitter. O’Neal, a partner with The Century Council, responded in early November with a tweet announcing he would visit the University in 2012.
“Our generation grew up watching Shaq as an entertainer and role model,” said Mariah Fairweather, LTUT account executive. “He is obviously passionate about reaching students on this issue, and we are fortunate and thankful to have him help spread our message to our peers. We know his involvement will deepen the reach and effectiveness of our campaign.”
The campaign team plans to use the finished video as a way to reach students in the future, including a back to school initiative for the fall 2012 semester. For more information, visit LessThanUThink.org.
LessThanUThink is a student-generated, anti-binge drinking campaign funded by The Century Council and the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association on behalf of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. The team consists of University of Alabama advertising and public relations students, working with the Student Health Center Department of Health Promotion and Wellness in association with The Capstone Agency, a student-run public relations firm.