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Release: Oct. 11, 1999

Stepping Up website encourages cyberspace discussion of alcohol issues

IOWA CITY, Iowa – When it comes to the issue of alcohol use and abuse in the Iowa City community, there is no shortage of opinions. Now, if you want to be heard beyond the classroom or coffee shop, you can express your sentiments in cyberspace.

The Stepping Up Project, a coalition to reduce the harmful effects of excessive drinking, is hosting a discussion board at its new website located at Users clicking on the "Talk Back to Us" link will find themselves able to post their comment as well as read and respond to posts by other users.

Julie Phye, coordinator of the Stepping Up Project, says she expects a lively mix of opinions. "If you talk to five different people, you will find five different slants on this topic. We are excited about providing a place for discussion and looking forward to feedback from our users."

The posting policy for the forum states that any and all opinions are welcome; however, users are requested to refrain from the use of obscenity.

The new website address was included in approximately 1,000 door-hangers distributed to local residents by the Stepping Up Project in early September.

"We want to get the address out to as many people as possible. That way we can count on getting diverse opinions and some new ideas," Phye said.

Parker-Davis Graphics, an Iowa City firm, designed the site. The website includes a calendar of social and cultural events, information on how organizations can request funding for social events where alcohol will not be served, and the UI alcohol policy. It also features research and statistics about how college students use and abuse alcohol and how that affects college students who don't drink excessively.

The Stepping Up Project is funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation's largest health care philanthropy, and administered by the American Medical Association.

For more information, call Julie Phye at (319) 335-1349.