Student body collaborates to curb excessive disruption off campus
THE SANTA CLARA
October 31, 2013
It is no secret that Santa Clara has a social atmosphere, but statistics imply that it is changing for the better.
Since last year, the number of student arrests in the Santa Clara neighborhood has dropped from 93 to 52. “Drunk in public” arrests have dropped from 28 to 11 during the months of September and October, according to Chief of Police Michael Sellers of the Santa Clara Police Department.
Santa Clara’s Educated Partier program, which educated 29 houses last year, is a way to garner positive responses in the off-campus party scene. It is a collaborative effort between Associated Student Government, the Office of Student Life and SCPD, that informs off-campus residents on how to be responsible when hosting parties.
Although it started in 2008, “over the past two years, the program has really grown and become a part of Santa Clara culture,” said Frankie Bastone, community development vice president for ASG. “Our biggest focus for this year is on safety, control and impact.”
Faculty, students, residents and police officers joined in discussion about issues at the Neighborhood-University Relations Committee meeting in the University Villas on Monday. Residents raised concerns about noise levels, broken glass in the streets, vandalism and the lack of trust in their student neighbors.
Students also noted that residents were making blanket statements when the issues are not black and white.
“We are Santa Clara residents as well,” said Jennifer Barsanti, a junior living off-campus. “I hope that the community sees the reductions as a way that we do care.”
Sellers shared statistics of the declining arrests and police house visits at the meeting. He said that the outreach amongst the police, students and university have led to these positive changes. Bastone points to the proactive measures taken by ASG and OSL, which included a day when the two organizations visited 140 houses, informing the student residents about living off-campus and about Educated Partier.
“We started hitting it hard this year which helped reduce those numbers,” Bastone said.
The main attraction for becoming an Educated Partier house is the first-time reduced fine.
If given an administrative citation by the police, the house can contact Bastone, who will work with Officer Tyson Green and the SCPD to reduce the payment.
Houses pay in full the second time, and on the third citation, their house can be removed from the Educated Partier program, although Bastone said that it usually does not get that far.
Educated Partier houses display a sticker in their front window to represent their involvement with the program. This also signals to students that the house is trained and can help if something goes wrong.
Trainings are scheduled once per quarter, but may increase depending on the program’s popularity.
The training session informs student residents about emergency response techniques, fire and safety codes and noise and crowd control.
To commit to the program, at least one or two people who live in the house are “sober monitors” during parties, identifying themselves with bright orange shirts with the word “sober” on them. Police talk with them if any problems arise.
So far, seven houses have been trained. In order to be an Educated Partier house, at least 50 percent of the house residents must be over 21 years old.
According to Bastone, the off-campus community is very young and many of the residents will not turn 21 until later this year. He believes that the number will be at or above last year’s figure by winter and spring quarters.
The program’s new goal is to educate and involve on-campus students. Starting in 2014, more Educated Partier programs will be held in residence halls.
“The people living at the houses are going to feel the negative effects, especially with neighbors,” Bastone said.
Residents from the houses on Alviso Street and the Greek life houses have already expressed interest to Bastone about holding more cleanups on Saturday mornings.
Bastone wants feedback from the community on a more casual, frequent basis and suggested that student groups host picnics or barbecues to bring the neighborhood community together.
“It’s not just fully focused on students in educated partier houses, but on the whole off-campus community,” said Bastone.
“It’s not just fully focused on students in Educated Partier houses”
Most people know about Educated Partier through the neon tanks, which act as the off-campus house map.
The tanks were not sold last year, so the demand for them is high.
Bastone said that ASG hopes to preview the tanks, which are currently being ordered, with a limited sale at the end of fall quarter and then sell mass quantities during winter and spring.
Contact Eryn Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.