Miami University’s Associated Student Government (ASG) is addressing drinking Uptown by handing out water bottles, an endeavor they are paying student organizations to help them with.
Organizations can sign up to volunteer on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night from 11:30 p.m.-2 a.m. They will be paid $50 for their time. The money is taken from the Miami Family Fund — comprised of private donations from Miami families — rather than from ASG’s typical funding.
Mark Pontious, director of parent and family programs, said money from this fund can be used for professional conference and non-conference travel — including study abroad and career development trips — and initiatives of departments or student organizations. It is also used for the Faculty-Student Discourse Fund, which is meant to further learning outside of the classroom.
Since the water bottle handout isn’t directly funded by ASG, the $50 each organization receives is not under the typical restrictions of other ASG funding. Therefore, it can be used for whatever the volunteering organization wants, including food or t-shirts.
Once an organization completes its night volunteering with ASG, the money will be deposited into its account.
Secretary for Governmental Relations Cecilia Comerford said ASG has been working on developing the water bottle program since the fall of 2017. However, it was not until last semester that they began to ask other organizations for help.
Student volunteers stand in front of the former Follett’s bookstore, right next to Brick Street, and offer water bottles to anyone that walks by.
“We want to make sure all our students are staying healthy and are staying hydrated,” said Darsh Parthasarathy, a member of the governmental relations committee. “More than anything else, we want safety for our students.”
Comerford said that while ASG wants to address the physical well-being of students, they also hope that the experience is eye-opening for volunteers who are able to experience a weekend night Uptown while sober.
The monetary incentive entices student organizations to sign up to help, but Comerford does not think it deters from the goals of the project.
“I think that everyone goes in with an appropriate attitude, and the $50 is just a little incentive,” Comerford said. “It’s really a thank you.”
A notice went out through the Hub notifying organizations of the program on Friday, Feb. 1. Immediately, Parthasarathy started receiving emails from people interested in helping.
Parthasarathy said that last semester, all of the slots were filled within a week of announcing the program, and this semester’s openings were already nearly full.