Former Sugarman Fellow spearheads alcohol-free Reunions event

May 23, 2024

Princeton's Reunions are known as the biggest party around. That can be inviting for some and problematic for others. Kristine De Jesus, former Sugarman Practitioner in Residence at SPIA, wondered if there wasn't a way to be more inclusive and help address the news of the recovery community. Due to her urgings, the Orange and Black Oasis – an alcohol-free gatherings featuring jazz, craft zero-proof drinks, mocktails, and cookies – will be held in the Murray-Dodge Café on Friday, May 24, from 8 p.m. to midnight and on Saturday, May 25, from 4 to 6 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to midnight. Chris Marshall from Sans Bar, the first non-alcoholic bar in North America, will be serving up zero-proof drinks to sip while enjoying jazz music in a sober-oriented space. Princeton SPIA is co-sponsoring along with the Office of Religious Life, Students Recover, and the Princeton Alumni Association.

While a Sugarman Fellow, Dr. De Jesus worked on creating Students Recover, a not-for-profit organization and virtual student recovery community platform that is helping to ensure services are centered in supporting students from systematically marginalized groups within higher education and are grounded in models of equity and justice. This virtual recovery program targets students at colleges that do not offer collegiate recovery programs, specifically at minority serving institutions (including tribal colleges and historically Black colleges/universities), community colleges, and trade schools, with the intention of reducing both health and academic disparities and increasing the successful matriculation of students in recovery in the post-secondary education setting. Previously, Dr. De Jesus worked at Montclair State University as the Coordinator of the Alcohol and Other Drugs program; in Tuttleman Counseling Services at Temple University as the educational coordinator of the Campus Alcohol Substance Awareness (CASA) program; and as an employment consultant helping people with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other mental health issues enter or return to the workforce. She now serves as founder and Executive Director of Students Recover.

"I'm so pleased Princeton has embraced the need for a fun venue for people in recovery and those who feel more comfortable socializing in spaces not centered on alcohol," says De Jesus. "Students Recover is proud to have launched this idea here."