Substance-free floor goes on field trip

Emily Gehret and 40 of her fellow peers gathered at the Cheesecake Factory on Friday night for dinner and cocktails.

The students are not 21, however, they were interested in alcohol-free drinks such as the Flying Gorilla or the tropical smoothie- drinks they like to call mocktails.

The undergraduates who enjoyed the night out in Miami live on the substance free floors in Stanford Residential College.

During housing signups these students chose to live on these floors and they are now reaping the benefits.

The program started as a pilot project in 2005, but after increasing popularity, the residential college added four substance free floors. The majority of the residents in Stanford are freshmen who choose to live sober lifestyles.

“The way of building a community is easier when everyone has the same set of ideals,” said Irene Daboin, junior and substance free floor resident assistant.

Resident Coordinator Liesel Winchester, planned various events for the students in order to reward them for their responsible decisions.

“These students set a great example,” said Winchester. “We want to provide an opportunity for them to go out and have fun on and off campus that doesn’t involved drugs and alcohol.”

On Sept. 25, students from the four floors gathered at the Cheesecake Factory in Dadeland Mall. The group traveled via metrorail in order to keep the cost of the trip at a minimum. The event began at 9:30 p.m. and lasted until 11:30 p.m.

A personalized UM Mocktail Happy hour menu was provided by the restaurant, and included eight signature mocktails. The substance free program covered the cost of one mocktail per student, which was $5.95.

Drinks including virgin Caribbean cooler, tropical smoothie, and virgin strawberry creamsicle were big hits among the students.

“Cheesecake is a great choice for this event,” said Freshman Sahil Sethi. “This place has a great ambiance, and the drinks aren’t that expensive.”

The group will experience a variety of activities including a trip to the play “The Color Purple,” at the Arch center and a tailgating party for the Clemson vs. UM game. Earlier this month the students dined and sunbathed at the Venetian pools.

“The program should be implemented throughout all freshmen floors because it allows us to get to know each other,” said Sethi. “Parties are fun and all, but there are other activities as well.”

The substance free floors have been working closely with Prevention, Intervention, Education, Referral or PIER21. The organization promotes drug and alcohol awareness throughout campus.

Not only are numerous students from the floors certified peer educators for the organization, but Stanford is co-sponsoring National Collegiate alcohol awareness week with PIER21 in mid-October.

All four of the residential colleges have implemented substance free floors. The students living in the substance free community have signed an agreement to steer clear of drugs and alcohol. If the agreement is violated, the students receive a written warning, which tend to be common throughout non-substance free floors.

“I think it is important that other students realize that that you don’t necessarily need to drink to have fun,” said freshman Emily Gehret. “There are so many other ways to enjoy yourself.”

Info box–

Mocktail ideas:

Tropical Smoothie: mango, passion fruit, pineapple, and coconut blended with ice

Virgin Caribbean Cooler: island juices and coconut swirled with strawberries

Flying Gorilla: fresh banana, chocolate, ice cream smoothie

Frozen Iced Mango: mango, tropical juices, coconut, and raspberry puree

Virgin Strawberry Creamsicle: strawberries and ice cream smoothie

September 29, 2009


Laura Caso

Contributing News Writer

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