National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week

National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW)

Check with your campus to learn about how NCAAW is incorporated into year-round prevention programming.

NCAAW Dates:

The third week of October each year is recognized as National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW).

October 18-24, 2020

October 17-23, 2021

October 1-22, 2022

October 15-21, 2023


We hope your campus will join more than 1,000 colleges and universities in the United States that recognize the importance of campus health promotion efforts addressing alcohol abuse and impaired driving prevention.

College and university students will join forces with their peers and campus professionals on more than 800 campuses across the country to promote National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW) on October 21-27, 2012. During NCAAW, students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of awareness and educational events, all designed by the campus’ prevention partners and leaders to reinforce personal responsibility and respect for current state laws and 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 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 the negative and inaccurate stereotypes of college drinking behavior.

NCAAW is promoted by the Coalition of Higher Education Associations for Substance Abuse Prevention. Our coalition of 20 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 working with students to educate them about alcohol.

The campaign takes advantage of social media and encourages students to tweet about their successful strategies to stay safe and be responsible during social situations. The messages support personal responsibility and practical safety tips to avoiding excessive drinking, driving after drinking, and not riding with a driver who has been drinking.

NCAAW activities vary from campus to campus, but typically include informative presentations and social events that promote responsibility and healthy, safe decisions about alcohol.

NCAAW History

As institutions of higher education entered the decade of the 1980s, it became increasingly apparent that existing efforts to reduce alcohol and drug abuse on the campuses were not achieving the desired results. Campus leaders continued to identify the misuse of alcohol as a primary institutional concern for the future success of the students they served. In recognition of this growing concern, a group of individuals gathered together to discuss the ways higher education might more effectively address the problems associated with alcohol abuse and to create a more unified and effective approach to building awareness and campus-wide support for prevention programming.

The original leaders in this effort included: Dennis Roberts representing the American College Personnel Association (ACPA); Tom Aceto of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA); Paul Olivaro from the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I); and Gerardo Gonzales, the Executive Director of BACCHUS. Two of the BACCHUS board members were also instrumental in this early effort. They were Dr. Thomas Goodale, vice president for student affairs at the University of Denver, and Gary North, director of residence life at the University of Illinois.

These founding individuals formed an umbrella organization that operates today as the Inter-Association Task Force on Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Issues (IATF). The group held its first meeting in Gainesville, Florida, in 1982. That original meeting was the springboard for what has become a very far-reaching organization. This task force was composed of representatives from the following organizations: The American College Personnel Association (ACPA), The Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I), the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), National Association of Campus Activities (NACA), National Association of College and University Residence Halls, Inc. (NACURH), the United States Student Association (USSA), and BACCHUS of the U.S., Inc.

The IATF has grown into a coalition of higher education associations and organizations that seeks to eradicate the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, legal and illegal drugs and other substances among college students. It strives to inspire students to review their lifestyles and make informed decisions regarding these substances. The Task Force supports teaching college students life skills that will enable them to be successful in college and afterwards.

Dr. Edward Hammond, then vice president for student affairs at the University of Louisville, now the president of Fort Hays State University, emerged as the driving force for NCAAW. Dr. Hammond has served as the national chair of the event for many years and continues to provide the vision and leadership to expand the program on college campuses across the United States and Canada.

With the success of NCAAW, National Collegiate Drug Awareness Week soon followed. In the 1990s, however, NCDAW began to evolve away from an event exclusively aimed at illicit drug awareness and prevention and more toward a general “wellness” focus. A decade ago, the IATF voted to officially retire “Drug Awareness Week” in favor of “National Collegiate Health and Wellness Week.” The response was tremendous as schools began to conduct focused educational programming for a week each Spring on topics as diverse as nutrition, exercise, drugs and alcohol, multiculturalism, smoking, and any number of other topics. NCHWW allowed schools to educate on the issues that most impacted them. Today, many campuses plan their own health and wellness fairs or community fun runs/walks to celebrate NCHWW.

In addition, the IATF sponsors awards to campuses with outstanding NCAAW programs, periodically hosts prevention symposiums, compiles reports on health and safety issues, and consults with the alcohol beverage industry to insure the most responsible standards of marketing and product orientation.

NCAAW continues to be the Task Force’s most widely recognized event. When NCAAW first began, only 250 campuses were on the active participation list. Now, more than 3,000 schools – from community and technical colleges to major research universities – participate to some extent each year! Today, NCAAW stands proudly as the most widely celebrated event in all of higher education. At the heart of this successful effort is an army of committed individuals on campuses throughout North America who have identified the issue of student health as one that deserves their hard work and expertise. The future of these events will be measured by the ability of these individuals to bring to bear all of the resources, efforts and energy necessary to continue to keep the issue before the academic community and the nation.