In October, college and university students will join with their peers on more than 3,000 campuses across the country to promote National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW), October 16-22, 2006. During NCAAW, students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of events, all designed to reinforce personal responsibility and respect for current state laws and school policies when it comes to the consumption of alcohol beverages.
NCAAW has grown to become the largest single event in all of academia because students take the ownership in designing and implementing this observance for their campus communities. This week gives campuses the opportunity to showcase healthy lifestyles free from the abuse or illegal use of alcohol and to combat negative stereotypes of college drinking behavior.
"NCAAW remains a cornerstone in campus alcohol abuse prevention efforts," said Dr. Edward Hammond, NCAAW's Chairman and President of Fort Hays State University in Kansas. "Ultimately, campuses need to educate students about excessive drinking and consequences that can occur on both a personal and academic level. All college and university offices need to empower students to take responsibility for their own decisions and the campus environment when it comes to alcohol. Participation in NCAAW helps students and college administrators work together to increase awareness and strengthen year-round prevention efforts."
NCAAW is promoted by the Inter-Association Task Force on Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Issues. This umbrella organization of higher education associations is dedicated to promoting education, prevention, research, networking, and national initiatives to help eliminate substance abuse and the problems it causes on our college and university campuses.
College administrators play a vital role in educating students about alcohol. "We need to do a better job of showing college students - particularly new students - that most of their peers are not abusing alcohol and making bad decisions," said Dr. Hammond. "Students want to fit in and follow campus norms. If we incorrectly lead them to believe that everyone is getting drunk on a regular basis, then that's what they will do. We have a responsibility to inform students that making healthy choices and responsible behavior is the true norm. Then, we can begin changing attitudes and behavior."
The accompanying list provides ways that professionals in our association can promote and support NCAAW along with students. NCAAW activities vary from campus to campus, but typically include informative presentations and social events that promote responsibility and healthy, safe decisions about alcohol. Last year's top model programs can be reviewed at the Inter-Association Task Force Web Site at www.iatf.org. For additional educational materials for NCAAW and alcohol abuse prevention, visit www.bacchusgamma.org for the 2005 iChoose NCAAW Campaign.