AUSTIN, Texas —This month, students at The University of Texas at Austin will join with their peers on more than 3,000 campuses across the country in promoting personal responsibility and respect for the law when consuming alcoholic beverages. The campuses will call attention to the issue by celebrating National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW), Oct.16-20.
NCAAW has grown to become one of the largest single events in all of academia, with students taking the leadership role in designing and implementing programs for their campus communities. The weeklong observance gives campuses the opportunity to showcase healthy lifestyles free from the negative consequences of alcohol misuse and to combat negative stereotypes of college drinking behavior. The Austin event, “Celebrate Light — Think Before You Drink” is co-sponsored by UT’s College of Pharmacy and University Health Services.
“We need to do a better job of showing college students — particularly new students — that their peers are not all abusing alcohol and making bad decisions,” said Courtney Cording, University Health Services alcohol and other drug education coordinator. “Most 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 tell students that making healthy choices is the true norm, then we can begin changing public perception.”
During the week, students will have the opportunity to participate in several interactive events designed to reinforce responsible attitudes toward drinking and to reduce alcohol misuse and its negative consequences. Tables devoted to various topics will be set up on UT Austin’s West Mall or Speedway Mall each day of the week from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dr. Carlton Erickson, UT professor of pharmacology and director of the Addiction Science Research and Education Center, will lecture on the myths about alcohol at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the Pharmacy Building, room 3.106.
A candlelight vigil will be held on the UT Main Mall at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. In addition to hearing comments from several inspirational speakers, participants will have an opportunity to light a candle in honor of someone who has been affected by alcohol.
On Friday, Oct. 20, at 11:30 a.m., George Obermeier, renowned speaker and author of the soon-to-be released book Getting High on Life is a SkillÃ Someone Forgot to Teach Us!will speak on the West Mall about healthy relaxation and recreation alternatives to alcohol. A grant by the University Co-op to the Pharmacy Council funds Obermeier’s talk.
“We are very excited about the opportunities available to the UT community throughout this week,” said Meredith Poole, chairman of the week’s pharmacy student planning committee. “Students have put their hearts and souls into getting out the message of responsible drinking to make this year’s event a great success.”
“Within the research arena, UT Austin is a national leader in investigating factors related to alcohol, alcohol abuse and addiction,” said Angela Solis, assistant dean of pharmacy. “The University’s Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research includes the work of some of the country’s most prestigious researchers in the field. UT’s national leadership in this research arena made the focus of this community service project a natural choice for pharmacy students.”
For more information about this event, contact Courtney Cording, LCDC, LPC, alcohol and other drug education coordinator, University Health Services, (512) 475-8456, or consult the Website at www.utexas.edu/pharmacy/light