His sophomore year wasn’t all rosy for Jacob Surface—or anyone else at Wabash. Tragic events at Homecoming in 2008 and the bottoming out of the nation’s economy hit hard.
“I got frustrated with what happened at Homecoming, which is how I got involved with the W.A.R. Council,” he says. W.A.R. (Wabash Acts Responsibly) advocates responsible behavior and making wise choices, particularly regarding alcohol. Surface signed on as the cross-country team’s representative, then was elected president last spring.
“I don’t drink,” Surface says. “I have a history of alcoholism in my family and I’ve seen alcohol ruin other people’s lives. Mostly I was focused on balance—striking the right balance between having
a good time without being harmful to yourself or others.”
It hasn’t been an easy task to be president of a club nobody wants to join. He argued with the Inter-Fraternity Council over the use of W.A.R. Council funds at Pan Hel. He helped arranged for six pre- Spring Break lectures by local doctors, policemen, attorneys, and healthcare professionals focused on the responsible use of alcohol by of-age students. Only a small portion of the student body attended them.
“I’ve approached this with the idea that if people don’t participate, that’s fine. We’re going to have fun anyway. I don’t make assumptions about things. If nothing else, maybe students can
look to us for alcohol education or for activities that are fun and don’t involve drinking,” he says.
In addition to the “six-pack” talks last spring, the WAR Council also handed out six-packs of Gatorade during orientation last fall!
“We wanted to create a positive image of the W.A.R. Council right off the bat,” he says. “In the past a lot of people have assumed we were a ‘Nancy-no-fun’ group. We really want to show freshmen that we like to have fun, but we want to make sure everybody on campus is safe.”