By Rachel Cywinski
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
Samantha Alecozay is founder and president of the Crimson Leaf Cigar Club, a student organization comprised of nine members and their sponsor, Dr. Louis J. Agnese Jr., the university president.
The group meets at 5 p.m. Thursdays on the patio outside Agnese’s office. Alecozay said Agnese selected the location because “it’s a patio that’s not around any heavily populated meeting spots, and it’s a nice area in general.”
Alecozay, a junior majoring in music industry, composing and performance from San Antonio, said, “The club’s name creates a connection with the school and those that enjoy cigars by using the reference of the color crimson with the tobacco leaf. What’s more interesting is the Latin text written under the coat of arms, which translates to ‘All equal under the leaf.’ This was important to me because cigars really are a social equalizer.
“Cigars aren’t just something you smoke. This club isn’t just about smoking a cigar. It’s an experience, it’s a new friend, a new networking possibility; it’s a stimulating conversation, it’s a place to unwind; it’s a warm, friendly environment where you’re not only learning about cigars; you’re really experiencing them. It really is a different world. What attracted me to sharing my experience with others is how great a time I’ve had with it over the past couple of years.”
Alecozay said someone encouraged her to start smoking cigars two years ago.
“After I was introduced to it, I began going to Club Humidor on a regular basis, trying new cigars, doing research on them, and enjoying them with the other members once I signed up for a membership. I smoke many different types of cigars, though nothing is better to me than a full- bodied Nicaraguan after a long, stressful day.
“I’ve also made so many networking connections through cigars. I have been a representative for Drew Estate Cigars. Last semester I started The Crimson Leaf Cigar Club to help guide those that are interested in learning about cigars in the right direction.
“The goals of the club are to teach people about cigars and their intricacy, to create a welcoming social experience, to generate stimulating debate and conversation in general, and to unwind after a long day.”
Club Vice President C.J. Dukes said, “This club is very social. We have open discussions that allow members and nonmembers to speak their minds without any negative criticism. We are having small activities at the moment. In the future we hope to host bigger events on campus.”
In regard to the university smoking policy and signage, Alecozay weighed in: “The principle of cigars is not the same as cigarettes. A cigar is meant to be enjoyed, not needed; it is something you smoke in the company of good friends or in privacy with a nice beverage and a good book. Cigars aren’t filled with the chemicals and other additives cigarettes contain, and you cannot develop a chemical dependence with cigars.”