The buzz on the Hill isn’t just coming from a Solo cup. It’s coming from word of mouth as the College—both its administration and its students—is reevaluating its drinking culture. Due to the high number of emergency room visits, the escalating cost of dorm damage, and the alcohol-centered weekend culture, the administration formed the Campus Culture Working Group (CCWG) to see what a little self-reflection would do in a post-Champagne Steps era.
The administration has been faced with a difficult problem: how can it address the serious health concerns associated with dangerous drinking without eliciting a response similar to the one when it attempted to cancel the infamous “Doghead” holiday? One thing has been decided on: the College declared a ban on hard alcohol in the coming fall semester and has decided to replace its point system with warnings and stricter punishments for hard alcohol possession. Student reactions varied, which is most evident in the SGA’s recent close-decision to not pass a motion favoring the proposed ban. Regardless, a ban on hard alcohol is in the College’s near future.
A hard alcohol ban appears to be a good compromise to a campus culture enamored with the bottle. At other schools, such policies have reduced cases of dangerous drinking as well its associated health risks. By recognizing that alcohol plays a prominent role in the social life of the College, the administration is working with the reality of the social culture on the Hill. Whether or not this will make the difference will be known at the end of the coming semester.
While no ban on alcohol can effectively end drinking on campus, this is a good start to coming to a sensible drinking policy. Obviously, there will still be those who seek out hard alcohol and have the time of their lives; however, a ban will severely limit the availability on campus. By being less hard on those students drinking beer and wine and by being more severe towards those drinking hard alcohol, the College has begun to encourage healthy drinking patterns rather than scolding all of them. (Despite its legal obligation not to condone underage drinking, it’s coming closer to dealing the reality of its students).
One point of concern is the fact that 21+ students are included in the ban. While definitely seen as an intrusion into the personal lives of students who have every legal right to drink hard alcohol, it’s arguable that a ban can contribute to a safer collective environment. At this point, students can see what’s on the horizon and they know that there is no way to ignore it. How they react in the coming semester will be a deciding factor in shaping the future of our social culture on the Hill.
God save the Hill. Cheers.