Making sure you have a plan for planting...

Since 1983, National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW) has been sponsored by The Inter-Association Task Force on Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Issues (IATF), a unique coalition of higher education professionals representing virtually every major association serving student development and related fields. The sole purpose of NCAAW is to provide widespread campus participation to create support for alcohol abuse prevention programs and other health-related efforts. Through the promotion of a highly visible week of educational programming and activities, NCAAW builds campus-wide attention for alcohol abuse and related issues.

While many campuses choose to schedule their own alcohol awareness weeks at other times in the fall (because of conflicts with Homecoming, for example), it is wise to observe NCAAW during the third week in October, if possible, due to the widespread national publicity surrounding the event. Many prevention programmers have found that piggy- backing on the national attention given to NCAAW makes it easier to get sponsorships from community sources and attention from campus administrators. If the third week of the month isn't a good time, you might consider another October weekend, which would still allow you to take advantage of the national attention on collegiate alcohol issues.

As a high point for year-round prevention and education services, NCAAW is also a wonderful vehicle for boosting visibility and support for peer education and other innovative campus wellness programs. Every year, NCAAW proves to inspire students from a wide spectrum of campus life to review their lifestyles and to challenge their peers to make better, healthier decisions where alcohol abuse and health issues are concerned. Effective peer education has always been at the heart of NCAAW, and today this strategy is more important than ever in building successful, high impact programs.

NCAAW is used by campuses across North America and beyond to educate, to inform, to challenge and hopefully to create change. Whether this is your first NCAAW or your best yet NCAAW, we hope that your message will successfully spur conversation and excitement in your entire campus community.

This site is designed to help guide your efforts. Building upon nearly 15 years of experience with this exciting program, we have identified the major components of successful NCAAW campus programs. Each section of this website covers an important step in developing your campaign.

Where Do You Begin?

For many, simply getting started is the hardest part of planning your NCAAW activities. Reviewing this guide is a good start to your efforts. Even if you are already underway in planning for this year's NCAAW, take a moment to kick back and use these links as a checklist.

Although each of the following sections deals with the mechanics of planning and implementing NCAAW, it is important from the start that you take some time up front to define your educational approach and goals for building your program. There is no standard formula for building NCAAW on a particular campus. Factors ranging from state laws and campus policies to specific prevention philosophies all come into play in how your respective campus may choose to tackle the prevention issue. The challenge is to come up with a philosophy for your week and then to design activities that promote the educational goals to the entire campus community.

Many successful campus NCAAW campaigns have been built around an entire week of programming with the simple goal that virtually every member of the campus community be touched by at least one event. This means something for athletics, something targeting women, something for the Creeks, something in the residence halls, something entertaining, something serious.

Other campuses prefer to target specific campus populations for change. Still others rely on big programs seeking out national speakers to facilitate debates and create broad media campaigns to build student interest and participation. It all depends on your resources. Don't attempt more than you can handle in terms of finances, time and assistance.

Regardless of the approach you take, it is important that you have a clear idea of your prevention philosophy and goals for the week. This way, you can be consistent in designing your campus NCAAW events, and you will be able to share this vision with committee members.