Editorial: Should Concordia welcome its students with booze?

Beginning last week and continuing into this week, Concordia’s student associations have been hosting orientation events with varied themes and activities. However, the common theme among all Frosh events at Concordia, seems to be the prevalence of alcohol. Whether it’s pub crawls, beach parties or barbecues, freshman are provided with plenty to drink. But should Frosh events be encouraging the consumption of alcohol? Is it appropriate for a Frosh to be sponsored by a beer company? Past experience tells us that alcohol can be a dangerous substance if consumed irresponsibly, so should we really be welcoming students to campus life by getting them drunk? Is that not setting a bad precedent?

It’s not wrong to consume alcohol, but the amount of activities that feature alcohol consumption at these Frosh events is alarming. After all, these events are for students new to campus and given the number of alcohol and accident fatalities that occur on campuses, shouldn’t our student associations want to discourage correlating university life with excessive drinking?

According to Health Canada, between four and five million Canadians engage in excessive drinking. Alcohol abuse has been linked to several fatalities and a number of injuries at universities in Canada in the past couple of years. In September 2010, a first year student at Queen’s University died after falling out of a sixth-floor window. The coroner ruled that his death was related to his alcohol consumption. The previous year, September 2009, an inebriated Guelph University football player assaulted another drunken student, resulting in said student being left with irreparable brain damage. That football player is currently serving a four-and-a-half year prison sentence.

As reported by past attendees of Concordia Frosh events, students are given a limited number of free drinks but they are able to purchase an unlimited amount. And why wouldn’t you buy more drinks? It’s the theme of Frosh. Everyone around you is drinking. Heck, if you’re a JMSB student then your Frosh was sponsored by the Molson beer company. With all this peer and commercial encouragement to drink, what’s to stop a student from going overboard? And if not today, then what about tomorrow? Frosh makes drinking seem like the university norm, especially when drinking events take place on campus. But, should our university really be sanctioning events that encourage associating university life with alcohol?

So far, Concordia hasn’t been as unlucky as Queen’s University, and there haven’t been any fatalities or serious injuries as a result of alcohol consumption. But isn’t it better to prevent an accident before it happens? Pub crawls and alcohol company sponsorship needs to go and events providing alcohol should limit the amount served and take place in a controlled environment.

There really is more to university than getting wasted, and student associations should promote those aspects of university rather than the “party” life, which let’s be honest, can only lead to trouble.

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