California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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Bottom’s Up!

Students put on play about alcohol consumption and safe sex

In the play “Bottoms Up,” students portrayed drunken party-goers and the serious consequences of binge drinking. The character on the left was taken advantage of sexually after the party.

Student Health and Counseling Services is pushing the envelope by talking about issues related to alcohol and safe sex in their new play, “Bottoms Up.”

Student Health and Counseling Services, in collaboration with University Police and the Pioneer Heights Housing staff, had been working since December to provide a program for students relating to alcohol safety and sexual health, in response to recent happenings on campus involving these topics.

“It’s important for us to get the word out about this, because as peers, students are more willing to lend their ear to us,” said Safina Escueta, a Peer Advocate for Wellness (PAW) who worked closely with the project.

The solution to the problem was to put together a skit that would engage the college-age audience and educate them on these pressing concerns.

“What we really wanted to do was start an open dialogue with the students,” said Jennifer Miranda, manager of Student Health and Counseling Services.

PAW interns were split into groups handling five different sections of a typical night out: the pre-party, the actual party, the after-party, in the bedroom the after-party, in the bedroom and the next day.

Each group wrote a skit including sensitive information about sex and alcohol usage, sometimes graphic but necessary language, references to current popular culture to engage the audience, and even a sex scene in which Miranda gave her students “creative freedom to be realistic.”

The skits written by the interns were then reviewed by Miranda and made into a final script. PAW interns and students who work for housing then volunteered to perform and help produce “Bottom’s Up.”

The play is focused to relate to college-age students with real life situations involving humor, while still getting the message across.

“We talk about really touchy subjects like STIs and rape,” said Escueta. “Sometimes the audience would have little giggles but other times they would be silent. They wanted to know what it was all about.”

The first performance was on Feb. 21 in Lassen Hall at Pioneer Heights with future performances on March 3 and March 9.

The cast of the play “Bottom’s Up” is working to help educate their classmates about the dangers of excessive drinking.

Performers and leaders from UPD, the Student Health Center and housing dressed in party attire to set the mood of an actual party during the pre-party before the performance. Escueta loved the crowd’s energy and was excited to present the information to the students in a fun way.

“It was great to openly talk about topics that not only concern them, but all of us,” added Escueta.

In between scenes during the play, Miranda would pause and open a dialogue for the audience to participate in. The goal was to get the students talking about lines of consent, the buddy system at a party and how to drink responsibly.

If a student volunteered to share their opinion, they were awarded a raffle ticket, and could win things like gift cards at the end of the night.

While some scenes and situations may be uncomfortable for the audience to watch, Miranda feels it is necessary to drive the point home.

“When you’re working in public health,” added Miranda, “you have to push the envelope. You can’t sugar coat things. I wanted a way to get campus leaders together to educate students without seeming preachy. We really want to relate to our students so we can get through to them.”

Though the play was put together in a few short months, Escueta was happy to put in the hours so that students on campus could have a place to go and learn about the essential subject matter.

“A lot of us had pretty much put in a 12-hour day,” said Escueta of the first performance on Monday. “But I came to realize that we could go into another profession if we wanted to and maybe make more money and not have to necessarily put in all these hours. But it’s so rewarding to be a part of this. We want to see our students succeed.”

A visibly moved Miranda added, “This is why I do this.”

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