If you listen to conversations throughout the campus, you’ll find that prejudice is alive and well at Colgate. No, it isn’t a racial issue, but a prejudice against people who don’t participate in the party scene that dominates the frats and apartments several nights a week in this otherwise quiet town.
It is true at Colgate, as well as at many other universities, that a lot of the students “go out” at night. “Going out” entails attending parties or bars and consuming alcohol. This idea of a party scene is especially strong Hamilton, NY, where there is little off-campus entertainment to draw students to other activities. However, there is a population of students that find other ways to entertain themselves than going out drinking. Throughout the first year, these people are often referred to as “Easties”, since many of them hail from the notoriously substance free dorm. But not everyone who lives outside of East is an alcoholic in training; many people who reside in East do go out and party hardy.
Before I go any further I want to set the record straight. I am not passing judgment on those who party. The Jug, townhouses, frats, apartments; I been to all of them. I’ve spent nights when the main attraction was a keg of Keystone Light, and I (thoroughly) enjoyed those events. However, from time to time I have found alternatives to partying for various reasons. What has displeased me most on those nights is not that I wasn’t out having a good time, dancing or wearing some ridiculous outfit at a themed party. Instead, I’m disappointed with the reaction people give me when I explain my evening plans to them. Apparently activities that do not involve alcohol are not cool.
Why not? Who has the right to define fun? It is as individual as taste in music, movies or food. If someone defines fun as hanging out in the dorm room watching old seasons of 24 or sitting up late in the barge drinking lattes and talking to a friend, then by all means he or she should do it. It isn’t impeding anyone else from having a good time, and that’s one less person standing in front of you in line for liquor at the Jug. Yet, there seems to be disdain, or at least disapproval, toward those students who choose not to be involved in the party culture of Colgate.
There is such a social stigma to living in East. The instant someone says that he or she lives there, everyone has already built up a stereotype of that person’s social life. I too am guilty of this. So many times I’ve have equated an East dweller with staying in on weekends. Unfortunately, many people take the stereotype a step further and associate staying in with being a loser.
Just because someone doesn’t drink or party, doesn’t make them a loser. Honestly, in the real world, the ones who pass out on the dirty, beer-splattered floor before making some bad life decisions are considered the losers. As for the people in East, and other substance free housing, I have met plenty of them who are interesting people with loads of personality and spirit. I’d even venture to say that I like these people and the diversity they bring to campus. It’s nice having friends that don’t subscribe to the party lifestyle.
True, the party scene can be a lot of fun; however, Colgate students seem to have this strong, almost competitive, need to out drink their peers. These students put pressure on friends to attend many parties, drink a lot and stay out late. Partying shouldn’t be a contest, or a coerced action. If you want to go out, do so. If not, find an activity that brings you pleasure. Besides, we can’t all be Paris Hilton.
There is no need to make people feel inferior because you don’t see eye to eye on evening entertainment. No one should feel pressured or alienated because they don’t drink. Normally, college students are so good at the ‘whatever floats your boat’ attitude, except in this regard. Let’s change this: Live and let live, or party and let others not party.