To teach students about drinking alcohol responsibly, you have to give them a beer.
The Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education conducted a listening tour last month to hear student feedback on the University’s programs, looking to redefine CADE's reputation as the “alcohol police” by starting a dialogue between students and the administration.
But if the University wants to send the message that it trusts students, it should find ways other than just a listening tour. To educate students on safe alcohol consumption and grab their attention, involve alcohol in the process.
Open a bar on campus.
I know, I know. But hear me out.
A University-run bar would be a place where students of age and faculty could meet to swap stories over a beer and meal. The purpose of the bar would not be a place for students to "get hammered," but rather it could be a central location for the community to interact with one another in an informal, fun setting.
People always say GW lacks a sense of community. They argue that the lack of student space on campus makes it difficult for students and professors to have casual conversations outside the classroom. A campus bar or pub could close that gap.
Hundreds of D.C. bars attract students on weekends and sometimes weekdays. But an on-campus bar would provide a safe space for students to drink with friends without having to worry about trekking back to campus and potentially curb binge drinking at pre-games.
Before the remodeling of Ames Hall, the Mount Vernon Campus had a bar. But with Ames Pub gone and Froggy Bottom Pub relocating next year, the University should take this opportunity to attract students to a campus bar where it could promote safe drinking practices.
Students are less likely to fall into danger or get into trouble with alcohol if they are drinking on campus at a safe place, surrounded by friends and familiar faces.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland opened a campus bar at the end of its yearlong “responsible-drinking campaign” this month. The college insists the bar is not meant to be a place where students go to get drunk, but rather a place where they can meet their professors and friends for a casual beer. Its purpose is to instill a greater sense of community among students and faculty.
Students will drink regardless of whether the University holds town halls and information sessions, and opening a bar on campus might actually establish a sense of trust between students and the administration. If students feel the administration trusts them enough to open up a pub, they will be more likely to listen to the guidance on alcohol consumption.
Sometimes the problem is also part of the solution. Sometimes the poison is a part of the cure.
Patrick Rochelle, a junior majoring in English, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor.