Today@Sam Article

ADAI Summit To Encourage New, Safer 'Norm'

Sept. 8, 2015
SHSU Media Contact: Chelsea Keller

In a time when colleges are ranked as “top party schools” and have a “party culture” that encourages binge drinking and drug use, Sam Houston State University is hoping to create “A New Norm” with its 10th annual Alcohol and Drug Abuse Initiative summit.

ADAI flyerThe annual summit, held on Friday (Sept. 18) in the Lowman Student Center, will feature workshops presented by professionals, experts and a keynote speaker. The free, daylong event will focus on issues related to drinking and driving, raising consciousness about the effects of alcohol, and how students can live up to the ADAI slogan  “be safer.”

Eddie Gisemba, ADAI coordinator, believes that the culture, or norm, colleges have established over the past couple of years has become something we should not be proud of. He hopes to combat this by creating an informed student community.

Through the 10th annual summit, Gisemba wants to bring attention about the harm that alcohol and drugs can cause not only on college campuses but also in college towns as well.

He also hopes to raise awareness of the correlation between alcohol and sexual assault, which was supported by a recent Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll that found that with alcohol consumption among college students on the rise, there is also an increased risk of sexual assault.

That this "rape culture" might be a norm on college campuses is something Gisemba said no university should be content with, prompting the ADAI to add sexual assault sessions into this year's summit. 

“I have a very serious problem with being in a position where we can say that we have a ‘rape culture’ with a straight face,” Gisemba said. 

This year’s keynote speaker will be Jake Byczkowski, who has had first-hand experience with the harmful effects of alcohol. In college, he was a DJ and a fraternity member. As a representative for Red Bull, he also threw parties all over the state of Ohio. While serving these roles, Byczkowski found himself slipping into a lifestyle that was dangerous to him and began to question his behavior, as well as the behavior of his friends.

Byczkowski’s session will focus more on risk reduction, why we do things that may harm us and ultimately encourage people to make safer and more responsible decisions, as opposed to telling people not to drink, according to Gisemba.

His keynote session will also include a free lunch from noon to 1 p.m. in the LSC Ballroom.

In addition to the annual ADAI summit, the initiative hosts other programs and is planning others that Gisemba hopes to have up and running sometime in the near future.

With iDrive, a designated driver program, students are encouraged to volunteer to act as a designated driver and would receive non-alcoholic drinks from local restaurants as an incentive. Many local bars and restaurants are in support of the direction that Gisemba wants to go with raising awareness of the harms of drunk driving.

The Good Sam program teams up with UPD to create a trusting environment between students and law enforcement.

“I am working with the university to create a policy where it’s easier for students to help their fellow Bearkats when it comes to incidents involving drugs and alcohol; they can call for emergency services and not be liable for breaking a policy,” Gisemba said.

All summit sessions will be on a come-and-go basis, so students can attend a presentation around their class schedules. Many of the faculty work with ADAI to ensure that students can earn class and extra credit.

By attending the summit students will be eligible for a number of giveaways, T-shirts and other door prizes, including a Roku and Chromecast, as well as a book scholarship for the spring semester. 

Volunteer opportunities are also available.

For more information on the summit or ADAI, contact Gisemba at 936.294.2228 or visit

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