“Party House” Revisited

web_Chris YoderRecent speculation and perhaps some gossip have led students to believe that harsher repercussions will fall upon those who host off-campus parties, parties that involve the consumption of alcohol.

Regardless of whether or not these assumptions have any basis on the actual wording of EMU’s sometimes vague, and outdated Community Life- style Commitment and any subsequent rules that follow in similar documents, the fact remains that the number of houses which host parties has diminished from last year to the present.

The trend in the recent past – for the two years I have attended and the two years prior – shows that the number of party houses available to visit on the weekends is dropping.

What does that mean?

Probably nothing. But I would advocate for a continuation of these houses that host parties, a reform that could be brought about by looser penalties for those hosting.

Before I go any further, perhaps a “party” house needs to be defined.

It is a house, or better yet, the people living at a house, that decide to have an open party, a party where the owners do not care who comes. Everybody is welcome.

Granted, the idea I propose needs to be taken with a grain of salt. I am in no way pushing an agenda that encourages under-age drinking. I am in no way pushing an agenda that encourages drinking in excess. I am, however, pushing an agenda that encourages the use of parties as a way to meet new people.

We attend a Christian school that I think, for the most part, holds solid to its own ideals.

EMU is currently in a listening process for allowing LGBTQ faculty members, it seeks to represent itself within the community in a Christian manner, and it seeks to lead others by the ideas that it gleans from the Christian Gospel, a gospel that I, frankly, don’t have a problem listening to.

But I do have a problem when I see the university stifle the very interpretations of the Gospel in which they claim to adhere.

Community – the recognition and continuation of a human spirit, a oneness that every person can identify with – is a large aspect of Anabaptist and, more specifically, Mennonite dogma. And this very tenet I see as repressed by the hegemonic policies of EMU.

At a typical party in the Spring of 2013, I would meet, on average, about ten people I had previously seen, but never had a chance to talk to.

Obviously this number was higher at the very first party I attended and slowly decreased with more parties, but if I had to place a number on the amount of people I know at EMU because of parties, it would encompass about a third of the people I consider friends or acquaintances.

The party scene at EMU has allowed me, under decreased social inhibitions, to instigate conversation with people who I had formerly only given an awkward, “Hello.”

Now, instead of giving an awkward, “Hello,” I have a conversation with these people regarding the test they had been stressed about, their success in trying to reach the roof of the science center, or the status of their mom’s goal of receiving a doctorate.

Now I actually know these people to a level that exceeds the superficial.

Unfortunately, the opportunities for these party interactions have decreased this year, and I notice a tangible result in the number of people on EMU’s campus that I can identify with.

That’s not to say I’ve lost the friends that I made last year, only that the number of people I can say, “I know you,” to is not growing as fast as it once used to.

-Chris Yoder, Staff Writer


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