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 July 2005 • NIRSA News and information
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Plans Announced for Observance of 2005 National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week

This fall, 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, 2005. 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 alcoholic 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," says 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 (IATF).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. NIRSA is one of the member associations of the Task Force, and is represented at IATF proceedings by Kurt Klier, CRSS, assistant director of intramural sports, University of Maryland (College Park), who also serves on the NIRSA Foundation Board.

College administrators play a vital role in educating students about alcohol. The IATF aim is to emphasize for students the fact that most of their peers are not abusing alcohol and making poor choices. Students in general desire to fit in and follow campus norms; therefore, if they are incorrectly informed that abusing alcohol is the norm, that is the behavior they will choose. The IATF promotes the responsibility of administrators to inform students that making healthy choices for responsible behavior is the true norm.

The accompanying list provides ways that campus professionals 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. For additional educational materials for NCAAW and alcohol abuse prevention, visit BACCHUS and GAMMA Web site for the 2005 "iChoose NCAAW Campaign."

Activities for Recreational Sports Professionals:

  • Use electronic media (such as scoreboards or marquees) to advertise prevention messages. Place ads in athletic programs or in the newspaper.
  • Make prevention announcements at sporting events.
  • Mentor at local high or middle schools.
  • Place prevention messages on cups and/or napkins at athletic events.
  • Make a public service announcement for campus radio or TV.
  • Sponsor a responsible "tailgate" party in conjunction with an athletic contest.
  • Hang safety and prevention banners in the gymnasium and at the fields.
  • Sponsor or co-sponsor a fun, visible event in conjunction with NCAAW, such as a fun run or walk or a tug-o-war.
  • Open the fitness center for longer hours.
  • Offer free fitness demonstrations.
  • Do blood pressure or cholesterol screenings.
  • Have a sporting event marathon (softball, volleyball) to raise awareness and/or money.
  • Offer free swing dancing or ballroom dancing lessons.
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