“Wasted” Perspective

Marin Cohn

“Work hard, play hard” — it’s a philosophy all of us here at Colgate are familiar with. Whether or how you participate in the “play” is almost irrelevant, given the climate here — or what the supposed climate is. At the first annual Diversity Council, lead by Professor Hsu and the Alana Cultural Center, students and faculty met in order to discuss just that.

As shown by data done by Professor Hsu, it turns out that many students on this campus do not “play hard,” or go out and drink heavily upwards of three times a week. Interestingly, however, while many students share this sympathy, due to the overwhelming influence and stereotype of Colgate as a heavy drinking school, those who don’t go out apparently feel isolated and alone.

In an attempt to combat this, the diversity council met to come up with ways to better the situation for “non-drinkers” at Colgate. A variety of ideas were suggested, such as amplifying the PR of university events, possibly opening up another venue for students to go to other than the Jug, so that they too could go out on a Friday or Saturday night without being confronted by a bunch of drunk and bumbling idiots. The suggestions were pretty good, and the issue is definitely one to think about — but I have to say, overall I think the entire event relates to a much broader picture.

The problem at Colgate, why students who “don’t drink” feel isolated, isn’t because events aren’t publicized, and it isn’t due to lack of effort from Colgate or the administration. I mean, the administration doesn’t organize drinking events — yet they seem to be prevalent. There isn’t any publicity regarding dorm or regularly occurring fraternity parties or tailgates, yet people seem to show up… The main problem then, is the stigma of being a non drinker — and this stigma, I would argue, most likely extends even beyond the walls of Colgate.

Maybe it is because the media shows partying as cool, because of rap lyrics — or maybe it is because we are all so stressed out in an age of anxiety that we take the chance to “unwind” in the easiest, quickest and most efficient way possible. In a time of efficiency, where everything is fast paced — IMs, drive throughs, pre-packaged, pop it in the microwave — it is no wonder why people take to alcohol and drugs as a means of detaching.

Thus alcohol is prevalent, and it is used, but as Professor Hsu’s data shows, getting “wasted” isn’t necessarily as widespread as one might think. So then what is the problem? The problem is that students are not taking the initiative to meet friends and do things if they don’t “go out.” Granted, Hamilton is not a bustling metropolis with a ton to do, however, I think that at twenty-odd years of age that we can take it upon ourselves to have a good time, and not try to go to the administration to guide us along to making friends and having a good time. If the “drinkers” can organize social events without the help of the administration, why can’t the “non drinkers?”