Spring Term is here and the Wisconsin hellscape has finally given way to more temperate weather.Subsequently, more students are finding the outdoors enjoyable again. This past weekend, with temperatures exceeding 70 degrees, many students could be found in the Quad and on Main Hall Green playing frisbee, doing their class readings outside and cracking open cans of Red Dog.
Public drinking is not an unfamiliar sight on college campuses, and Lawrence is no exception. Many Lawrentians await the warmer weather with the promise of events such as LU-aroo and Greek Week. Although these events do not explicitly promote substance use, the nature of these outdoor events do very little to dissuade it.
According to a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 72 percent of people go through a heavy drinking phase in their late teens and twenties. However, this information will never be featured in a college admissions brochure.
Spring is a prime time for prospective student and family visits; April for instance, hosts two Admitted Students Days. However, public drinking creates a conflict between presenting a true representation of the college with the image that the Admissions Office hopes to promote. While students should not have to hide these activities every time there are prospective students on campus, Lawrentians need to be aware that their actions contribute to the perceptions of the student body as a whole.
Day drinking is not all fun and games. Lawrence’s official policies concerning drug and alcohol use expect that students will follow local, state and federal laws. This follows the wide understanding that students will also adhere to Lawrence’s Social Code. Public intoxication can make some students uncomfortable, and can sometimes lead to dangerous and risky behavior.
One thing students don’t always consider when they choose to drink outside—especially when underage— is that they may face more serious repercussions from law enforcement. If one chooses to drink in a Lawrence building, likely the worst thing that will come from it is a slap on the wrist from Campus Safety. If one decides to drink outside, they may face more serious repercussions from the Appleton Police Department.
Whether or not the choices that individual students make involve alcohol or not, ensuring safety should be a top priority for both the student body and the campus as a whole. While public drinking is not necessarily an enticing scene for perspectives students and parents to witness, it provides insight into real college life and the responsibilities that come with these choices.