Founded in response to the 1997 alcohol-related death of Phi Gamma Delta pledge Scott Krueger, SaveTFP is a fourteen-member MIT student group devoted to reducing stress among students. It was originally closely tied to the MIT administration, and according to current SaveTFP member Lia Bogoev ’14, was meant “to teach people about alcohol safety and show people that you can have fun without alcohol.”
Since then, the focus of the organization has shifted. According to the SaveTFP website, their mission is “reducing stress in students, promoting healthy social practices, raising awareness of resources, encouraging student culture on campus, and increasing awareness of recreational options on and off campus.”
“All our events are alcohol-free,” said Bogoev, “but that’s no longer the focus.”
SaveTFP hosts ten to twelve events per semester on Friday nights, usually in the Student Center Coffeehouse. “We want to give students a chance to get out of their dorm room on Friday night without the pressures of partying and see that they’re not alone,” Bogoev explained.
Events range from themed gatherings, like video game night, to food-specific smoothie and waffle nights. Smaller events draw 100-200 people, while the largest fall event, Spooky Skate, can see a turnout of 750.
The group also participates in Spring Weekend, provides pizza and Gatorade at SafeRide stops before major party nights (to prevent drinking on an empty stomach), and distributes encouraging messages in seasonally themed ways. According to Bogoev, events sometimes see surprisingly high turnout, like when therapy dogs were brought in, while others like this year’s election event have very low attendance. “Different types of people go to different events, which is why we do a wide variety of things,” she said.
According to member Jasmine Chan ’15, the group itself still receives funding from MIT and occasionally meets with Don Camelio, Director of Community Development and Substance Abuse in the Division of Student Life. SaveTFP recruits its own members and tries to keep the group small.
Members meet on Sundays to plan the Friday events. “SaveTFP has helped me become less stressed,” said Bogoev. “I feel more welcome here than any other student group I’ve been in.” She also said members of the group spend time together outside of meetings.
Most recently, SaveTFP hosted a Smoothie Night in the Student Center last Friday. There were only a few dozen attendees at any given time, but people flowed in and out throughout the evening.
Roger Hartman ’16 came for the free smoothies. He and his friend Rebecca Luoh ’16 heard about the event through a dorm-wide email: “It’s nice to have an event to come to,” said Luoh. Jeremy Kaplan ’15 had previously been to a SaveTFP event and said he enjoyed having an excuse to leave his dorm.
“You’ll always get people to come when you have free food,” said Brady Enstad ’15, adding that the group of people at the event was rather diverse.
SaveTFP members try to reach out to anyone at events who looks sad or lonely, said Bogoev. “People are really stressed here, more so than at other colleges,” she said. “But events like the ones that we do make me feel like we’re all in this together.”
For the list of future events and more information about SaveTFP, check their website at http://web.mit.edu/savetfp/SaveTFP/Home.html.