The exterior of Health Promotion & Wellness at SF State on March 15, 2021. (Lucky Whitburn-Thomas / Golden Gate Xpress) (Lucky Whitburn-Thomas)
The exterior of Health Promotion & Wellness at SF State on March 15, 2021. (Lucky Whitburn-Thomas / Golden Gate Xpress)

Lucky Whitburn-Thomas

SF State to host harm reduction-based events for National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week

Health Promotion & Wellness aims to promote safe drinking during NCAAW.

October 25, 2022

SF State will host a series of events revolving harm reduction to celebrate National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week. 

The events were strategically set up during the evening to provide alternatives to drinking. 

“We hope to bring workshops on harm reduction education as well as just being able to have different activities to kind of serve as alternatives for drinking, which most of the time happens at night,” said Health Promotion and Wellness Substance Use Education Coordinator Elizabeth Nunez Gandara. 

The events include:

  • Oct. 25: National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Resource Tabling, in-person at Malcolm X Plaza
  • Oct. 26: Instagram Reel – virtual mocktail
  • Oct. 27: Art Night outside Towers and Village at Centennial Square A with mocktails and free food, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in-person, outside the HPW office
  • Oct. 28: Party Safe: Peer-to-Peer Workshop for NCAAW, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in-person, HPW office


As students transition from teenagers to young adults, binge drinking becomes more common. 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,  drinking alcohol can affect the way the brain works. These disruptions can also disrupt mood, behavior and thinking patterns.  

NCAAW aims to teach SF State students about safer everyday practices. 

According to the President of Substance Use and Peer Prevention Kylee Torres, their intention isn’t to drive students away from drinking completely, but to encourage students to drink in a healthy way. 

“We obviously want students to abstain as much as possible but we also want to meet people where they’re at,” Torres said. “People are obviously going to do drugs and drink; it’s just very common, but our job is to let them know how they can do that more safely.” 

SF State’s Health Promotion & Wellness is working in collaboration with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to provide the series NCAAW of events this week. 

HPW strives to provide SF State students with the tools and knowledge from a peer-to-peer point of view. According to Torres, one of their main methods  to accomplish their goals  is to make health a daily conversation.. 

“When we interact with students, a lot of it is very taboo still,” Torres said. “We ask people if they feel comfortable sharing if they drink, most of which are hesitant to just admit it.” 

Gandara put on the NCAAW activities last year, which SF State was awarded for. 

“We competed against different campuses, and as a result, SFSU has been named the 2021 Collegiate Champion by Mothers Against Drunk Driving,” Gandara said in an email.“Additionally, we were invited to present at SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week for our work in harm reduction across the campus.” 

Torres believes that San Francisco’s culture makes SF State the best place to encourage students to talk about their health issues and experiences. 

“SF State is one of those campuses where a lot of things are very liberally spoken about and I’d like to get there when we talk about substances because even now it’s still very taboo,” Torres said. 

Counseling & Psychological Services Outreach Coordinator Nicole Rose Buitrago believes that HPW is providing important support for students.  

“Health Promotion and Wellness offers the campus prevention education to support students’ well-being,” Buitrago said in an email. “And specifically, has an entire webpage with various programming dedicated to Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs to encourage safe drinking.” 

If students need more support, Counseling & Psychological Services offers alcohol and drug counseling, which primarily consists of a student  assessment and providing  support resources. Additionally, students can receive individual therapy services regarding their substance use concerns.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Isabella Vines
Isabella Vines, Diversity Editor
Isabella Vines (she/her) is the diversity editor for Golden Gate Xpress. She's a senior at SF State, majoring in communications and journalism with a minor in race and resistance studies. Isabella is from and resides in the Bay Area. During her free time, she likes to travel, read and spend time with loved ones.

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