By Alison Rosenman and Ellen Schoder
When Drew Evans and Tai Nguyen ‘19 stepped into their role as JSAAPP co-heads, they said that they felt like they were “carrying the torch.” The previous JSAAPP co-heads happened to be their rugby teammates, so when it came time to run for the position, Evans and Nguyen were eager to continue their teammates’ legacy. It’s a responsibility that they don’t take lightly.
“Safe drinking is something that’s really important to us on this campus,” Evans said. “And as much as we can be a part of it and encouraging others to be doing that is really important and is a large part of what makes our community such a positive one. Any way we can be a part of that was something we wanted to do.”
For Evans and Nguyen, being members of the rugby team not only motivated them to run for the position, but has also shaped some of their plans now that they’re in charge. The two said that they hope to model JSAAPP initiatives during their time as co-heads after a safe-drinking and safe-partying discussion that their team conducts for its members every year.
“We as a team every year meet to discuss consent and our party space, how we want it to look, and we really want to encourage other teams to have those conversations,” said Evans.
They note that their team emphasizes education and accountability, and are hoping to merge those ideas together to offer training for students who want to host parties. Eventually, Evans and Nguyen envision only students who have attended this training being able to reserve party spaces through the Event Management System.They said that this is not meant to be a punitive measure, but is intended to create stronger channels of communication between campus safety and party hosts so that if any issues arise during a party, they can be addressed and the party can continue.
“The goal is basically… to create an accountability mechanism for party hosts in case something happened,” Nguyen said.
Evans added: “Campus safety really wants to encourage people to register through the school that they’re having a party, not because they want to punish people, but because they want to know where people are going, where to expect a ton of people.”
Another JSAAPP event that Evans and Nguyen said that they are excited to plan is a remix of FAB’s beloved Quizzo game, which would replace classic trivia facts with questions about the alcohol policy. “I think that people may think they know what the Alcohol Policy says, but they definitely don’t,” Evans said. “And I think that just increasing awareness about it is something [that will be] positive.” They have also sent out a survey to the student body about drinking on campus, which will remain open until Sunday.
Though Evans and Nguyen already have a full agenda for the year, they are still adjusting to their new role. The two were elected at the end of October in the third round of elections for the position. The student body had failed to reach quorum in two previous elections, leaving the position vacant at Fall Plenary, when students ratify the Alcohol Policy. Now, Evans and Nguyen are sorting out what exactly their responsibilities are and how to move forward. This year, they are also working with Michael Martinez, who, starting this year, is in charge of JSAAPP.
“I think that it was pretty frustrating,” Evans said about the fact that it took three attempts to elect JSAAPP co-heads. On top of that, Evans and Nguyen said that the delay had some repercussions for their work this semester. Without co-heads, the group could not craft a fall budget, leaving JSAAPP without the funds to provide reimbursements to students for snacks at parties.
But now that Evans and Nguyen are settling into their role, they say they are optimistic about the year ahead.
“JSAAPP is here for any ideas or thoughts and concerns that [students] have, whether it is with the Alcohol Policy or with their own experiences with substances,” said Nguyen.