The Catholic University of America

Student Affairs

CUA Observes National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week

  Peer Educators Bridget Drumm and Justin Minutola

By Mike Allen, vice president for student affairs; Jon Sawyer, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students; and Stephanie Davey, assistant dean of students

CUA observes National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW) each year during the third full week of October. This year was no exception and our participation in this national event provided the campus community with the opportunity to engage in social and educational programs ranging from substance abuse awareness to bystander intervention, all aimed at fostering a campus-wide conversation around these issues.

NCAAW was sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students and PEERS (Peer Educators Empowering Respectful Students), CUA’s peer education group on campus. This year, PEERS collaborated with resident assistants, student organizations, and offices and departments across campus to deliver 10 workshops as well as various educational campaigns and initiatives. Events from the week included North Neighborhood 1’s “Bar” Exam, Opus Hall’s Fourth Annual Optoberfest, and Central Neighborhood’s Untold Stories of Addiction and Recovery.

Along with these established headline events of NCAAW, a new initiative, the Empowered Bystander Pledge, was launched. Taking this pledge reinforces the responsibility we all share to safely intervene in potentially challenging situations by applying the “3Ds” of bystander intervention:

  • Direct - If comfortable, approaching the person(s) directly yourself
  • Delegate - Finding friends to intervene or call the Department of Public Safety, Metropolitan Police Department, or a community director or resident assistant on call
  • Distract - Diverting attention from situation
More than 150 students attended the "Bar" Exam in the Pryzbyla Center on Oct. 21.  

The pledge encourages members of the CUA community to “find a way to intervene in any behavior or situation that feels potentially high risk for alcohol poisoning or sexual violence or assault…” The goal of this new initiative is to challenge the CUA community to think about the options that are available to them in these situations and take action. You can still sign the pledge by clicking here.

Finally, this year NCAAW marked the introduction of a new program promoting active bystander behaviors and focusing on the well-being of all students. The Good Samaritan / Medical Amnesty Program was designed by the Office of the Dean of Students to encourage students to call for assistance in the event that medical attention is needed due to alcohol or drug intoxication. Students who complete educational and/or health interventions are offered an exemption from participating in the student conduct review process, removing the barrier that might prevent students from seeking medical attention. It is our hope that through this program, students will look out for one another and feel empowered to call for help when needed. To learn more visit

For a full listing of NCAAW events and for more information about educational programs and support, please visit