Jake White doesn’t drink.
And he considers that plenty of reason to throw a party. So far, as he and his business partner projected, hundreds of his University of Wisconsin Oshkosh peers are on the exact same page. That’s proving the entrepreneurial point that drives UW Oshkosh senior White’s and senior marketing major Steven Vanevenhoven‘s mission for Party.0. want to be an alcohol prevention speaker upon graduation and thought it would be easier to show people that you can have fun sober instead of just telling them, White said. Last summer, I approached my business partner, and we started planning right away.
And, as the saying goes, these days, BOOM.
On the first weekend of the 2012 fall semester, White helped stage the first Party.0 sober party off campus. For the record, it’s pronounced “party-point-o” and its slogan is “Bringing it B.A.C.,” as White and Vanevenhoven “wanted to hint that we provide dry parties but in a cool way.” About 80 people came out to enjoy the first evening of free food and drinks, music, dancing and games. By the end of 2012, Party.0 had run its sixth party and averaged about 150 people per event, with 180 representing the apex. New events were scheduled and staged into the New Year.
Party.0 is no student experiment. White and his business partner surveyed more than 100 UWO students and found many had equally strong reservations about drinking. After identifying surefire “customers,” they sought out sponsors.
Presto. Campus-area Papa John’s, Subway and Monster Energy Drink outlets and vendors stepped up and sponsored the events and supplied food and alcohol-free beverages. The Fox Valley DJ Association lent the musical talent. People came. Money was made. The business model–also a demonstration of the kind of harmony students and community neighbors can share while still having a blast–even won $750 as second place in the local Creating a Stronger Community Contest.
We want to provide a place for that 30 percent of students who don’t drink to find each other,” White said. “It’s important to us that people are comfortable in their own skin and that they don’t feel dependent on alcohol to have a great time. We don’t want to tell people what to do or not to do, just provide the opportunity to have fun and see firsthand that you don’t have to drink alcohol to fit in.”