Let’s talk about campus-wide alcohol policies
The Augustana community talks a lot about the culture on campus. Students, for the most part, all find ways to become involved or engaged in particular areas of study. But while the college boasts a strong culture with many students eager to participate, a large part of the social scene outside of class isn’t being adequately discussed—alcohol.
I say “discussed” instead of “addressed” or “ handled” because I do not mean to imply that the college has taken no steps to deal with alcohol on campus. The student handbook clearly states that Augie is a dry campus, and residence halls have plans in place for students who defy the alcohol policy.
However, Augustana is still a college, and college is a time of independence and self-exploration, which for many, includes the occasional adult beverage. The dry campus policy certainly doesn’t mean that no students will drink. The college’s recent response to alcohol has been primarily to ignore it.
UBG no longer has dances. Welcome Week (formerly NSO) leaders will include freshman PAs because, among other reasons, one might infer that the college doesn’t want freshmen to be welcomed to Augie with an invite from their Welcome Week group leader to a kegger at Heritage.
These changes (or maybe restrictions) to the Augustana social scene take an opportunity to create discussion about the role of alcohol in society and sweep it under the blue and gold rug of abstinence.
Hiding alcohol use on campus under this metaphorical rug won’t prove to be any more successful than trying to hide a bottle of UV under the rug in your room in Bergsaker.
Obviously, the college shouldn’t encourage underage drinking, but if it’s happening on and around campus anyway, shouldn’t we at least talk about it?
Instead of shutting down all of the events where students might show up intoxicated, the college should create a forum for students to discuss and learn the consequences of drinking.
For many, alcohol is a part of the college experience, and at a school that emphasizes liberal arts, encouraging conversation seems much more productive than stifling students’ social lives.
Megan Raposa is a junior journalism and business communications major from Rapid City, S.D. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.