UMBC student's anti-drinking booklet receives national acclaim BALTIMORE COUTNY

February 10, 1993|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,Staff Writer

Sharon Malecki spent weeks last spring putting together an anti-alcohol message for fellow college students in an eye-catching, pocket-size booklet that warns "Alcohol = Impair Yourself."

This week, the effort by the University of Maryland Baltimore County senior paid off, as she won the $1,500 grand prize in a national competition sponsored by the federal government's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

At an international conference on substance abuse Monday in Washington, U.S. Surgeon General Antonia Novello presented her with a check and a plaque. Miss Malecki, 22, took the money and ran. She couldn't miss her Graphic Design Processes class back at the Catonsville campus.

Along the way, however, the Frederick native put the check in the bank. "And it's going to sit there until I figure out what to do with it."

UMBC officials said they will look for ways to include ideas from Miss Malecki's 10-page booklet in the student orientation program's session on substance abuse.

An honor student with a double major in photography and graphic design, Miss Malecki said she entered the contest as a project for design class.

However, the subject reflected her personal views on drinking: "I'd rather not."

"I wanted to design something that more people would see than just the 20 people in class," she said. "Since people saw me doing this [handbook], they have told me stories about alcoholism in their families and what it has done."

Miss Malecki, whose parents don't permit alcohol in their home, doesn't see herself as an anti-alcohol crusader.

"I just don't see altering your state of consciousness with alcohol to have fun," she said. "If you're 21 and you like beer, OK, but don't drive drunk."

Last week, she began a semester's internship in the pathology department of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, doing photography and graphic design for medical presentations.

She also works as a residence aide, overseeing about 50 men and women students, mostly underclassmen, on one floor of a campus housing building.

Residence aides are responsible for presenting programs for the students.

Movies and "mocktail parties" are the most popular activities, along with speakers on a variety of topics.

"We try to offer alternatives to drinking," said Miss Malecki.

Though the anti-alcohol theme coincided with Miss Malecki's personal views, she most enjoyed researching and designing the booklet, which won over 37 other entries.

The competition featured 217 entries in three categories -- student newspapers, posters and handbooks -- that focused on substance-abuse prevention on college campuses.

Miss Malecki's sketchbook contains pages of prospective illustrations for the booklet. After choosing which ones to use, she combined them with computer-designed text gleaned from publications put out by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Operation Threshold of the U.S. Jaycees.

Contest judges received enlarged versions of the booklet, which is pocket-size -- 4 1/4 -by-2 3/4 inches -- to make it convenient for students to carry.

Miss Malecki said she hasn't decided whether to pursue a career in fine-art photography, graphic design or combine the two.

However, she said she is leaning toward publication design, "coming up with an idea and making the mock-up, then letting someone else produce it."

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