The truly creative and inspirational efforts for NCAAW always begin with some serious brainstorming. One of the first things you will want to do with your committee is to sit around and "dream" a little bit. What things would you like to accomplish? If you could do anything, what would you do?

For many committees, brainstorming begins with a theme. You want to find a theme that will frame your activities for the entire week. You want something memorable, marketable, and fun. A good way to begin this process is to get a flip chart and some markers. The only rule is that there are no dumb ideas. Committee members can make suggestions until an overall theme appears. As your committee members get excited about an idea, start a new sheet and refine it until it takes the desired form. Acronyms can be developed around fun words. Parts of songs or poems can be incorporated. Historical quotations can be used. It is up to you!

If you are searching for your own unique theme, there are an infinite number of directions your brainstorming might take. Some themes that other campuses have successfully promoted include:

  • OkSOBERfest
  • Sober Safari
  • Get SMART! (Students Making Alcohol Responsibility Today)
  • You Hold the Key to Success
  • Just Do It Healthy!
  • Risky Business
  • Be a Part From the START (Students Taking Action & Responsibility for Tomorrow)
  • The Magic of Life
  • FREAK Out! (Finding Responsible and Entertaining Alternatives on Kampus)
  • Seize the Day, Take Back Your Nights!
  • Making the Right Connections
  • I Have a Choice
  • How the Health Are You?
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Find Out What It Means To Me)

It's also great to build themes around popular television shows, summer blockbuster movies, or current song titles. This is where the students on your committee can be particularly helpful! They know what their friends watch and listen to! Maybe you want to use the theme of this book and use a cooking or creative recipes theme as an anchor for your week. Here is a quick list of things you could do to support NCAAW: Favorite Mocktail Recipe Reception - Discuss the importance of serving non-alcoholic beverages at any social event.

Send out a brief fact sheet about alcohol behavior and effects of alcohol on the body. The next day in the student newspaper, do a brief quiz where students have to turn in their answers for a drawing for dinner at a faculty member's house. Secure faculty in advance as a means to promote NCAAW and to find out what they might serve for dinner.

  • Have a progressive dinner to different parts of the campus as a social event.
  • Have different organizations sponsor each stop.
  • Sponsor a "Beyond Macaroni & Cheese" Cooking Class for Students with a guest chef.
  • Put together some nutritional facts about calories, fat content, and consuming alcohol.
  • Have a "Hosting a Party to Remember" Workshop and Talk About the Ingredients of a Successful Party
  • Put Together a Campus Recipe Book as a Fundraiser

Your theme will be the lasting memory of your week. It will be your calling card next year when you go looking for support for NCAAW 2000! It will appear on your posters, your T-shirts, and in the titles of your educational programs.

Brainstorming is just what the word applies - a "storm" of ideas that are offered first and evaluated later. We naturally judge and categorize things immediately. Our brains are trained to sort things as good ideas or bad, worthwhile or not. The key to brainstorming is to turn off that judging process so that ideas flow freely without anyone trying to figure out whether or not they will work, if it costs too much money, etc. The other good thing about suspending judgment on ideas is that the people who are brainstorming don't have to worry about "saying something stupid." People are often reluctant to offer ideas, fearing the criticism of others. If you conduct a productive brainstorming session, people will feel comfortable blurting out any thought.

Rebuilding Campus Culture
Remind students emphatically of their individual responsibility for their actions. Acknowledge the role of students in changing campus culture. Include students in decision making. Consider carefully how alcohol is marketed on campus. Involve everyone on campus including the president and trustees. Enlist the help of local merchants and community members.

What Can You Do?
Report from the National Symposium on Alcohol Practices sponsored by the Inter-Association Task Force on Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Issues