By Jeremy B. Merrill
Here are a few thoughts on alcohol policy changes that would achieve the administration’s three goals: to keep students safe, to improve CMC’s image in the higher education community, and to avoid harming CMC’s unique and tolerant atmosphere. These suggestions are not meant as an end to debate, but as an attempt to start it. They are starting points for discussion, not solutions for immediate application.
1. Ban kegs at Thursday night parties.
This may sound awful, but students don’t depend on the cheap beer served at TNC for their Thursday night fun. Most students have their own private sources for intoxication, and exchanging that extra cup of Natural Light consumed at the party for some good public relations might be worthwhile. This could go a long way toward reducing the perception that the school (read: ASCMC) buys alcohol for students.
2. Enforce the glass policy.
Do students need to be carrying around a handle of Captain Morgan? I don’t think so. Students can drink in their rooms and leave the glass bottles there.
3. Encourage (yes, encourage) safe drinking.
Drinking at club meetings or the Athenaeum or having a beer while you do your homework is far healthier than getting heavily intoxicated every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Encouraging students to drink in smaller quantities would reduce the risk of alcohol poisoning, as well as better mirror the drinking situation outside of the campus environment. Getting trashed and vomiting all over your boss at the PricewaterhouseCoopers Christmas Party is not a way to move up in the world. CMC can achieve this goal by reimbursing clubs for beer and liquor they serve with meals or on weeknights.
4. Require more alcohol training.
Let’s not lie. AlcoholWise may have been effective for a few people, but the rest of us filled it out with the aim of getting it over with as quickly as possible. Let’s supplement AlcoholWise with a more comprehensive talk by the new student sponsors and resident assistants, reminding students that CMCers really do drink responsibly and with cameos by those unlucky souls who had the experience of waking up in a hospital.
5. Ban outdoor drinking games.
Moving the daily games of Beirut into dorm lounges and onto balconies would decrease the perception of CMC as a party school, without putting too much of a hurt on those Tuesday night study breaks. As an added bonus, we could reduce that sea of red cups on the ground to a small pond.
6. Require hosts to serve food.
CMC’s Alcohol Beverages Policy requires that “nonalcoholic beverages and food must be provided at events where alcoholic beverages are served.” Enforcing this already on-the-books policy will provide a way for students to avoid drinking dangerously on an empty stomach. Plus, the Port Side has it from a good source that apples make a great chaser for cheap vodka.