Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Football legend Desmond Howard supports new 'Stay in the Blue' mobile app

Desmond Howard once again is voicing his support for the university's "Stay in the Blue" program.


More information on "Stay in the Blue" program.

This time the Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP is urging all students to download a mobile application that estimates an individual's blood-alcohol content.

"I want you to have the best experience possible …" says Howard in a public service announcement.

The new mobile app was developed during the last year by three U-M students: Steven Coffey, Roddy Hyduk and Jenn Angell.

The application works by asking users to enter their gender and weight. It then allows students to select drink types such as beer, wine, or specialty drinks, tailored to local bars and restaurants. The quantity is calculated based on the number of standard drinks in each alcoholic beverage. The app then calculates blood-alcohol content (BAC) over a period of time.

As users enter another drink, an estimated BAC gauge moves from being in the "blue" to "maize," "orange" and finally into "red" if they go too far.

"Stay in the Blue" refers to keeping a person's BAC below 0.06 percent. For those who choose to drink, a BAC below 0.06 percent will keep them at low-risk levels. Anyone with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher may be arrested for drunken driving in Michigan, although lower levels can produce drinking-and-driving citations as well

In addition to estimating BAC, the application provides helpful resources such as taxi information, local laws and things to do in Ann Arbor.

"This app is a wonderful example of U-M students helping their own community — it was developed by students for students — although others are welcome to download the app as well. The app grew out of the 'Stay in the Blue' social marketing campaign, started in 2005, and put it on a platform that students regularly use," said Marsha Benz, Alcohol and Other Drugs Health Educator.

"Staff and faculty can also help encourage students to download the app as one more tool to help reduce negative consequences related to harmful alcohol use. Of course students who don't drink are always 'in the blue' and we hope they will download the app to help their drinking friends."

Students who download the application also can enter their uniqname on the information page and be entered to win pairs of box seats for the U-M/Notre Dame game or Homecoming.

Two years ago, Howard worked with U-M students to develop a public service announcement for the first night game at Michigan Stadium. The 30-second, student-produced video urged Michigan students to moderate their alcohol intake so they can "stay in the blue."