There are issues with alcohol across all different age, gender, race, and tax bracket groupings in our country. These issues partially stem from an oversaturated and largely inefficient collegiate system in which kids are asked to make massive financial decisions at a young age. At such an age, the vast majority of these kids have not only been undereducated on the intricacies of financing their futures, but have also been encouraged to fit into an unspecified mold. This mold has been created by way of a fast food and Real Housewives’ infected society that has birthed the “first world’s” largest cultural mental health deficiency.
This deficiency has been ignored by the general public for decades and is currently being dressed as demonizing actions such as owning a gun or going to an EDM concert. As stated previously, there are issues with alcohol and just like that girl you met over the summer…it’s complicated.
I’m like any other college kid. I’ve had my fun and there are certainly more than a few tales that I will never mention to my mother. I am guilty, guilty as charged, with the stories. There are going to be several unpopular opinions in this piece and I am asking you not to judge me too harshly. Please rest assured, that while I respect your opinions, you should not lose sleep over it. You are welcome to do so, but you will be wasting your time.
Sti-Yu-Ka is a Native American phrase that is translated to mean, “The Coming of Age.” This is…interesting to me, upon consideration of the fact that nothing about the attitude of the event (as I’ve known it) has not changed in any fashion over my four years at Springfield College. I do not mean to disrespect the student activities committee and all those involved who work year-round to organize the week of events. You should be revered for volunteering your time in an effort to provide a memorable experience for impressionable young adults; however; a greased pole climb and an oatmeal pass (seriously?) make my high school’s field day look like a party at Al Pacino’s estate in Scarface.
I concede that there are a multitude of drug problems (to include alcohol) in our country and others. You’re never the only one. Like many other colleges in our great nation, Springfield College has done a fantastic job of publicly ignoring this issue, which does exist on our campus, and instead combats it with what has become a typical collegiate administrative action of treating young adults that enjoy drinking on the weekend like caged animals.
This is, you know, the act of sending them curtly condescending emails after being “written up” or “documented” with predetermined judgments of the situation laced heavily within often poorly chosen vernacular. This is opposed to talking to the students as individuals in a neutral setting and working to understand who they are as a person, like, I don’t know, Gandhi, that Italian dude who cuts your hair, or any human being that doesn’t have their vision completely clouded by meaningless letters in front of their name.
Sti-Yu-Ka, as I’ve known it, has sucked. It’s nothing if not a shame upon consideration of the phrase’s translation. “The Coming of Age” should encompass a more cohesive event. I understand and respect the fact that a group of students in the ‘60s wanted to provide alternative events for the campus, that’s great, always do your thing. But whose ingenious idea was it to make the entire week’s events centered around things that don’t involve alcohol? Seriously? Alternative isn’t even an SAT word. It’s like rolling the Tom Sawyer rule and prohibition all into one. Telling sexually active college kids that their largest school-sponsored events for spring week are not going to be providing alcohol to those that are of age while simultaneously policing the event like a middle school dance is legitimately one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard of. By failing to meet the of age campus population halfway, it creates a stigma against the administration and in some circles encourages rampant consumption and dangerous behavior.
This piece has more to do with the attitude of the situation in a year-to-year sense than it does in reference to a singular week in the spring. With that said, I just find it sad and quite frankly a little naive that there is no mention of alcohol in any of the build-up or advertising for Sti-Yu-Ka events. I’m not saying that the entire week should be spent getting belligerently drunk. Much in the same light, no administration should ever publicly support that sort of behavior; however, blatantly ignoring the fact that some individuals will be getting obnoxiously drunk at certain points during festivities and then harshly punishing them when they do is flat out irresponsible on the part of our or any collegiate governing body. That’s what’s sad – the ignorance. Just because you say it’s not true does not make it any more of a fallacy.
I feel that this situation has gotten better in my senior year. I do not offer any disrespect to our former president, Richard. B Flynn, because I never really got to know him, but I feel that this attitude change shares a direct correlation with the arrival of Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper and her incredibly vibrant energy. It’s not about Sti-Yu-Ka; it’s about a campus lifestyle. To the offices of Residence Life and Alcohol and Other Drug Education, I don’t understand your aims, and never once in my collegiate career have I felt that mine or my fellow students’ best interests were at heart. It’s honestly felt like arbitrarily placed rules and bureaucratic banter were carelessly thrown around.
In digression and conclusion, I am confident that Dr. Cooper is going to continue to progress our campus in a positive fashion, not by actively encouraging kids to abuse alcohol, but by understanding that there is a real world outside of this institution, that mistakes will be made, laughs must be shared, and that we would all be better served to try and understand that this isn’t the same Springfield College it was last year, the year before, or 10 years ago. I hope you all enjoy your spring week, and I hope you realize that today is as good a time as ever to consider the state of your own evolution.