HAVIN’ A BLAST: The Red Frogs keeping campus parties fun and safe for all.
Photo: Ilanit Chernick
Free pancakes, free water, coffee and a chill area were some of the things drunk students had to help sober up during O-week, courtesy of the “Red Frogs”.
The Red Frogs are a student organisation that aims to be a “positive presence” at Wits by providing support, such as food, to students who have been drinking on campus.
Their role on campus, especially during parties, is to build a safe and healthy relationship with party-goers.
“Our desire is to change partying culture from one of damage to young people to one of safety and genuine fun,” said Gauteng co-ordinator and Wits alumni Mick Channon.
Channon told Wits Vuvuzela that this year during O-Week they were “lucky enough” not to face any serious medical issues or problems during the campus parties.
“There was the usual dealings with crowds and many drunk people but that’s our bread and butter. We love to help people when they need it!”
“We’re also in constant contact with security and the paramedics to ensure the party is running safely and smoothly,” Channon said.
“Our desire is to change partying culture from one of damage to young people to one of safety and genuine fun,”
Volunteers are trained to give a “reasonable amount of care” at parties but they are never asked to assist anyone medically. They have to be 18 or over to join.
Safety for volunteers is also a major priority for the Red Frogs, so they are trained to be aware of situations which “may endanger them”.
According to Channon most volunteers are either Wits students or alumni. But they aren’t just working on Wits campus, they have also branched out to work at music festivals like Oppi Koppi and Rocking with the Daisies.
This year the Red Frogs will begin to host a number of social evenings on both Wits and University of Johannesburg campus residences to connect with the students and build awareness around responsible partying.
“We’ll off er free pancakes, board games and hot chocolate to give students an hour of free, safe fun in the evenings,” he said.
Ever wondered how different a night’s partying would have turned out if you had just eaten something beforehand or perhaps just drank some water along with all the alcohol? Well thanks to the Red Frogs the wondering can become a lived reality.
With up to 30 volunteers at each of the Wits O Week parties this week, the Red Frogs will be hard to miss. Pictured above is Gauteng coordinator Mick Channon. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Red Frogs South Africa is an organisation that provides a support network to young revellers at music festivals, Matric Rage and now at Wits Orientation Week. History honours student and Red Frogs Gauteng coordinator, Mick Channon said they essentially provide a party support network at the events they attend.
Channon said they provide a “positive presence” at events by making pancakes, handing out water and providing a chill out area which is a bit more relaxed than the rest of the party. “We want to get guys to eat while they drink and also keep guys hydrated,” added Channon.
[pullquote]“Look we’re not running around smacking drinks out of people’s hands or anything”[/pullquote]
Unfortunately they can’t make any of their pancakes at Wits O Week because there will be other vendors on site but they do have over 2000 bottles of water and will be providing chill out zones at parties. These zones will have couches and games to keep party goers busy.
“Look we’re not running around smacking drinks out of people’s hands or anything,” joked Channon and went on to emphasise that they want to provide a positive presence in a social space.
Channon said he wasn’t particularly concerned about the overall safety of students because Wits does a great job at that already and students generally know how to handle themselves. “It’s not like Rage or Oppi where we literally save lives because people get alcohol poisoning and stuff,” explained Channon.
Wits O Week will be the Red Frogs’ first varsity experience in Gauteng. All one needs to do is look out for one of the 30 Red Frogs volunteers in a black and red t-shirt and they will assist where possible.