By Maria Shah

“I feel like starting off with– it’s okay if people are vaping and understanding their full situation”.

“It’s bad for you.”

I just, yeah like, I know a lot of kids who want to quit but don’t want to quit, and like, it’s like a very in between thing and also it’s just like, it’s just, nevermind.”

“Why aren’t we talking about banning cigarettes? Why just vapes? Why?”

When you enter Chai Time, the atmosphere of the room is calm. People are free to enjoy “chai,” which simply translates to tea, paired with samosas. 

Chai Time is an event hosted four times a semester by the brothers of Delta Epsilon Psi– DEPsi for short. This Chai Time was hosted in collaboration with the sisters of Delta Phi Lambda and took place in the Asian American Cultural Center. We spoke to Nihar Reddy, a junior electrical engineering major and a brother of DEPsi for more about the event:

“So, Chai Time is about getting topics that are, like, important in society and that are often ignored, and we meet here, doscuss, we chill out, we relax and we just discuss about the topics. It’s completely open and you can have whatever you want. The main point of Chai Time is to hear the other side of the story. 

Nihar Reddy, Electrical Engineering ’21

Every “chai time” aims to have a discussion of a controversial topic. This week’s discussion was “The Rise of Vaping” and aimed to have a conversation about this now common college activity. 

Tino Marrero and Josie McCormick, members of Delta Epsilon Psi and Delta Phi Lambda respectfully, led the discussion by presenting a powerpoint on the effects of vaping and the history of how vaping and e-cigarettes became popular. They then opened the discussion to attendees with two questions:

  1. “What can we, as a society do to mitigate the usage of vapes in our youth’s lives?”
  2. “Would it be beneficial to bring up this issue of vaping in school curriculums?”

“They smoked in the bathrooms, they smoked outside, and they bring these e cigarettes. And yeah they smell bad, they taste bad, that’s what everyone says at first but then after one pack, you don’t really– you get used to it– you don’t really say that anymore. So I think the main point that we’re all trying to get at here is that even if we ban e-cigarettes, people are going to find an alternative like, whether like, it’s weed, regular cigarettes, alcohol or whatever, people will find alternatives. It’s pretty futile to ban it. I mean, I’ve– it’s far more beneficial for us to do like awareness campaigns.”

And this, is what makes Chai Time different from other events on campus. The room consisted of vapers, non-vapers, and those who quit vaping or are trying to quit vaping as well, however during this event, they all could speak freely without fear of being judged for their opinions in a calm and comforting environment, and while at times the discussion definitely became heated the brothers of DEPsi and the sisters of Delta Phi Lambda were able to successfully create a comfortable environment where people could have these controversial and loaded discussions without feeling attacked and the other sides could learn something about each other as well– this is something that is extremely difficult to achieve in today’s deeply divided political and social environment. 

“One of my friends told me, like, ‘When are you gonna stop’ and I said, ‘Oh I don’t know maybe when I finish college,’ and hes like, ‘Oh you mean when you’re stressed out at your job you’re gonna quit?’ and I was like, ‘Probably not and he said what about when you have like, a wife and a kid? Are you gonna be doing it like, in front of your kid?’ and I said, ‘no’. So, quit while you’re ahead since we don’t know the negative health factors”

Chai Time was a refreshing reminder of how there are many sides to a story, and sometimes, the best way to hear  all these sides is over a cup of tea and a delicious samosa. 

“Yeah, I think it’s a really hard topic because it affects like– I feel like we at least all know one– a person that vapes, you or yourself or a friend so like, it connects all of us.”