Everyone knows drinking is part of the culture at the University of Dallas. The question we should be asking is just how much risk our habit of mixing alcohol with our activities is putting us and our university in.
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the drinking culture at the University of Dallas can be categorized as high risk.
The NIAAA states that binge drinking constitutes drinking up to four drinks for women and five drinks for men “on the same occasion,” meaning, in one night or at one party at least one day in the past month.
We can apply this definition to weekend parties in the woods or in Tower Village, where many students both underage and of legal drinking age consume four or five drinks or more in one night.
Not only do we see evidence of binge drinking during casual events such as Wine Down Wednesdays in Tower Village, but we also see evidence of NIAAA standards of heavy drinking in the UD culture.
The NIAAA defines heavy drinking as binge drinking for five or more days out of a given month.
With four Wine Down Wednesdays, four TGITs, and four weekends per month, it’s safe to say that the drinking culture at UD has reached the standard of heavy drinking.
Some Christian universities, such as Baylor University in Waco, have a strict no-drinking policy on campus. Baylor’s “Student Policies & Procedures” listed on their website states that any student, both of legal drinking age or not, caught on campus with the possession of alcohol will go through the conduct process.
In contrast, UD serves alcohol to those of legal drinking age on campus at various events such as TGIT, Groundhog and Oktoberfest. Alcohol is served at these events for the purpose of enhancing the atmosphere and community through bringing friends together in a casual and comforting setting.
Although these events exist supposedly to enhance student life at UD, the progressing drinking culture at UD seems to abuse the original purpose of alcohol and negatively transform the purpose and atmosphere of campus events.
Students frequently turn events from casual and friendly hangouts to loud and inappropriate parties, which often result in the arrival of the police. Such parties are without class and without intellect, two characteristics crucial to UD’s reputation.
Last year, students who opposed President Thomas Keefe’s New College plan protested on the Mall to show how adamant they were in preserving UD’s educational reputation. Yet these same students disrespect our school’s mission with their willingness to sacrifice their studies on weeknights for drunken nonsense.
Although the drinking at UD is excessive, it is not the act of drinking itself which I see as the problem. Rather, it is the use of alcohol as a means to achieve an immature and harmful end.
I argue that if one cannot act appropriately while drinking, one should reconsider drinking at all. Nothing is classy about sleazy dancing, spilling beer and vomiting in the toilet. A person should be able to enjoy a moderate amount of alcohol and the company of others without acting like a fool.
Yes, alcohol is enjoyable. Throwing up all night isn’t. Searching for your friend at a party and worrying about his or her safety isn’t either.
Alcohol is part of our culture. But it shouldn’t define our culture. And it shouldn’t control how we behave.