Last month, Professor of Sociology H. Wesley Perkins was invited to participate in two professional development events, presenting his expertise in the area of social norms to individuals in the fields of environmental science and education.
Perkins was a keynote speaker at The Environmental Defense Fund’s Annual Science Day Conference in New York City. The conference was attended by Environmental Defense Fund staff and board members from throughout the U.S. and internationally, as well as other environmental science professionals. The conference theme this year was “Using Social Science for the Environment” and Perkins was asked to speak about his work on “The Social Norms Model for Promoting Positive Attitudes and Behavior.”
Also in October, Perkins was invited to lead a day-long training workshop for health educators, school administrators and community coalition advocates working on prevention of youth risk behaviors in the eastern Upstate New York region. The training was titled “Social Norming: A How-to workshop with Dr. Wesley Perkins” and sponsored by the Shenendehowa Community Coalition in cooperation with the Prevention Council of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. In this workshop, Perkins presented the basic research and theory about the social norms approach to health promotion and risk behavior prevention with example applications on preventing alcohol and drug abuse, bullying and violence, sexual risk-taking, and unhealthy food consumption among teens.
The social norms approach was introduced to the field of health promotion and risk prevention by Perkins in the 1980s. He is a graduate of Purdue University, and he received his M.A., M. Div., M. Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He is the author of dozens of journal articles and is editor of a book on the social norms approach to substance abuse prevention, and has been honored with national awards for his work in preventing alcohol and drug abuse in colleges and universities.
Along with Professor of Chemistry David Craig, Perkins directs the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Alcohol Education Project that has received multiple awards from the U.S. Department of Education and they are currently conducting a social norms project to reduce alcohol abuse among young Airmen at selected bases in the U.S. and abroad.