EMU has a strict dry campus policy, which is talked about a lot. The CLC bans alcohol on campus and we have a horrible, long process in response to alcohol violations; that is common knowledge for most students.
The solutions given at this point to this problem are not very clear. There are three clear options to satisfy being on a dry campus.
One: Leave campus to drink. Yes, this is risky but it will enable you to drink and not be caught on campus; even though it might mean driving drunk or being in an unfamiliar place with people you do not trust. Maybe you are safe, but it is still not your home or a place you can crash for the night.
Two: Drink in your residence on campus while making sure the door is closed so the Res Life staff does not catch you. While a clear violation of policy, you are being safe and in a place where you trust the people you are with.
Three. Not drinking. Even though many others are, you can stay in on the weekends and find other things to do. This takes time and effort, and you are not meeting people, but creativity can get you a long way.
EMU does not really give an alternative to these three options. There are no programs on the weekends that discourage students from drinking. No late night events, no movies, no school-sponsored activities. While having programs would not cure our campus of drinking, it would give another option for students. If there were quality events on the weekends, maybe it would attract one or two people who would have otherwise been out at JMU. And it’s a start.
If nothing else, EMU needs to provide information on alcohol. Of course while also infusing the students with the message that EMU strongly discourages alcohol usage. At the same time, though, EMU should at least offer information about how to safely consume alcohol.
Administration knows that students drink. We need to at least provide data about how to drink in a safer way. Many other schools have an online training that must be completed before the beginning of freshman year. This training allows for facts to be stated about how much alcohol is in each drink (beer, shots, wine, etc.) and tips on how to keep alcohol down, i.e., for every drink you consume, you should drink a glass of water.
It is time for EMU to recognize and take action about our stance as a dry campus. Having a dry campus can be a good thing, but EMU should be providing education and other options if they truly want to keep campus dry and safe.
Written by Katrina Poplett, Contributing Writer