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Weeklong campaign starts Oct. 15 at CSUMB

NCAAW starts Oct. 15During the week of Oct. 15, students at Cal State Monterey Bay will join with their peers on more than 800 campuses across the country to promote National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW).

Students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of events, all designed to reinforce personal responsibility and respect for state laws and campus policies when it comes to the consumption of alcohol.

“NCAAW allows us to show our students here at CSUMB – particularly new students – that most of their peers are not abusing alcohol and most are making healthy and safe decisions,” said Gary Rodriguez, health promotion and prevention specialist with CSUMB’s campus health center.

The 2012 NCAAW #makeSMARTchoices campaign theme, developed by the BACCHUS Network, contains a message of student empowerment through decision-making that is safe and healthy. It encourages students to Set limits; Make a plan; Act to help others; Respect responsible choices; and Talk to a friend.

The message supports personal responsibility and practical safety tips about avoiding excessive drinking, not driving after drinking, and not riding with a driver who has been drinking.

“These are great messages for students because they focus on providing them with education and skill development. They allow students to make their own informed choices,” Rodriguez said.

This year's activities include:

• "Health Fest,” sponsored by the POWER Peer Education Program, highlighting campus and community organizations dedicated to helping students make safe and responsible choices. Main Quad, noon-2 p.m.

• “Meet the Greeks” student panel sponsored by the Multicultural Greek Council; students with different perspectives on and experiences with alcohol are encouraged to speak in an open discussion format. East Lounge of Student Center, 8:30 p.m. 

• Gatorade Pong tournament, sponsored by the Student Athlete Advisory Council. Black Box Cabaret, 8 p.m.

• Keynote speaker Sarah Panzau, a standout athlete who made poor choices that nearly led to her death in a drunken-driving accident in 2003. Since then, she has told her story to thousands of young adults. University Center ballroom, 7 p.m.

• Fireside chat, sponsored by the Residential Housing Association, with information provided by representatives from community organization. Divarty Quad, 8:30 p.m.

• CSUMB's fifth annual Jell-O wrestling tournament. North Quad, 8:30 p.m.

• “Glow in the Dark Dance,” co-sponsored by the Otter Student Union; it highlights Dominic’s Designated Driver Program. Black Box Cabaret, 9 p.m.-midnight

• Open mic night, sponsored by the Residential Housing Association. Starbucks in Student Center, 7-9 p.m.

NCAAW has grown to become the largest single event in all of academia because students take ownership in designing and implementing the observance for their campus communities. The week also provides campuses the opportunity to showcase healthy lifestyles free from the abuse or illegal use of alcohol and to combat negative stereotypes associated with college drinking behavior.

University faculty and staff members also play a vital role in working with students to educate them about alcohol.

NCAAW at CSUMB is a collaborative effort ofHealth and Wellness Services, the POWER Peer Education Program, Student Housing & Residential Life, the Residential Housing Association, Athletics, the Student Athlete Advisory Council, Student Activities & Leadership Development, the Office of Judicial Affairs & Community Standards, University Police Department, Academic & Centralized Scheduling, Sigma Theta Psi sorority, Kappa Sigma fraternity, the Multicultural Greek Council, Associated Students, Otter Student Union, Sun Street Recovery Centers and the California Highway Patrol.

NCAAW isn’t the only way CSUMB works to educate students about drinking.

For the last three years, a program called AlcoholEdu has been required for all freshmen. During the summer before they start classes at CSUMB, they must complete a web-based course that deals with a variety of alcohol-related topics. The goal is to ensure that students have a base of information before they arrive on campus – when they are exposed to alcohol and behavior patterns get formed. Statistics indicate the program is having an impact.

In addition, staff members from CSUMB’s Health and Wellness Services conduct educational programs and campus outreach efforts throughout the year.