SGA gets down with Party Smart

After a fire alarm, four detoxications, numerous party busts and one arrest at the Wills dorm, Residential Advisors (RAs) and UVM Police finally let the residents of Wills dorm get back to sleep. The night began with a fire alarm, which an overflowed pot of ramen noodles on the first floor stove set off. Within minutes after students were let back into the building, RAs and UVM Police began busting parties, UVM freshman Christine Davignon said. “It was crazy and the kids were out of control,” Davignon said. “The upper level people did not seem to calmly address the situation, but in a way provoked their erratic behavior.”RAs declined to comment about the event. The Student Government Association (SGA) has been working on a Party Smart initiative to increase the knowledge of “party smarts” in UVM students, which could have helped the situation in Wills. “Party Smart Web page is a “safe party” Web page that teaches students the best practices of throwing and going to college parties,” SGA Legislative Action Committee Chair Chris Shackett said. “It basically acknowledges that students drink, but says how to practice it in the safest manner possible.”According to Shackett, Party Smart was set to be launched a long time ago; however, UVM administrators have been stalling the process. “The page is finished, but is being delayed by certain administrators who feel it still needs to be polished around the edges,” Shackett said. “They feel it needs more work – they’re scared that it’s going to give a negative image.””I think what specifically needs to be done is to be determined by those working on the Web site,” Student Services professional for Health and Wellbeing Diana Gonzalez said. “My understanding of the SGA’s goals are of safety and responsibility and, looking at those goals that the SGA has, I think the Web site in its current formation doesn’t have the information supporting that goal.” “They feel [our work] portrays to the community and they worry about how the community feels,” Shackett said. “We work for the students and we’re worried about how the students feel.” According to Shackett, Party Smart initially was drafted up last year by former senator Eddie Foster and the former Legislative Action Committee Chair.”They saw one at Ohio State University and thought we should do it,” Shackett said.”I’m very excited that the SGA has taken the initiative to create this Web site,” Gonzalez said. “Lots of schools have it, but it’s unique that the students have taken the initiative.” “The whole idea of the page is that you know people drink in college, so how can you get them to throw a party, go to a party in the safest way possible,” Shackett said. “We knew we wanted to make [the Web site] as professional as possible.”Currently, the unfinished site has information for both party goers and party throwers. Information on the basics of alcohol, ways to safely get home and information on the current laws are only some of the information the site contains. So far, the SGA has spent $465 on the page and, according to Shackett, it will be launching soon.”I came back from winter break thinking it’s a finished product,” Shackett said. “[The Administration] does eventually want the page to go up, but they want their changes in it. I fear the students could see them as totally irrelevant.” “In short, I am very impressed with SGA’s desire and work to create a Party Smart Web site to promote thought, responsibility and safety at UVM,” Gonzalez said.