All Posts Tagged With: "underage drinking"
What students are talking about today (February 12th)
1. CrossFit, the intense group workout craze, has found a following at Queen’s University where a Facebook page calling for it to be offered in the campus Athletics and Recreation Centre has more than 500 likes. But the ARC powers-that-be are concerned the instructor who wants to offer it isn’t certified as a personal trainer or an employee. They also say the exercises could have health consequences. The Queen’s Journal isn’t buying the explanation, citing the fact that student-run fencing and archery clubs already use the gym.
2. Science, yes science, has determined that underage American alcohol drinkers are sticking to a relatively small number of, what are in my opinion, dreadful tasting brands. Almost 28 per cent of the 13 to 20-year-old study participants drank Bud Light within the past month, 17 per cent guzzled Smirnoff malt beverages, 15 per cent downed regular Budweiser and 13 per cent sipped on Coors Light. Researchers at Boston University and Johns Hopkins surveyed 1,032 teens online. Their paper is published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
The tragic death of a Queen’s student has renewed calls for a crackdown that is already well under way
Natasha Zapanta, a cheery first-year Queen’s University business student in a perfectly manicured first-week outfit, won’t be telling her grandchildren about any Old School-worthy hijinks. Frosh week for this 17-year-old involved scavenger hunts, a video dance party and “Commerce Cares”—random acts of kindness visited upon unsuspecting fellow students by commerce freshmen. “There was nighttime partying,” she admits, “but we just stayed in the residence hall.” Most of her friends are also 17, below Ontario’s legal drinking age and, while alcohol is readily available, they’ve been warned not to indulge.
For biochemistry major Connor Forbes, the week was so low-key it threatened to dampen that famous Queen’s school spirit altogether. The gloom extended even to the engineering faculty, where students were this year banned from the school’s ancient move-in day tradition, in which engineers paint themselves purple and taunt incoming freshmen. Engineering society president Victoria Pleavin, citing complaints, sent an email to all engineering students warning them that anyone caught engaged in the practice would be escorted off campus. “Move-in day was really an introduction to the fun of the school and gave you a sense of community,” says Forbes. “The event is gone and we don’t know if it’s coming back. They took it away.”
Such moves followed a raft of measures taken by Queen’s administrators aimed at taming the furor surrounding frosh week—and, it seems, everything else too. Last year, the university cancelled its infamously out-of-control homecoming event, which newspapers have become fond of noting cost over $200,000 to police. Queen’s also vowed to curb freshmen excesses by stamping out the likes of “Slosh the Frosh” and “Sauce the Boss” because, according to senate meeting minutes last year, they “put students at risk.” The clampdown is, depending on your politics, already a success. Says John Pierce, interim associate VP and dean of student affairs: “By last Thursday, I was getting reports that, ‘Well—jeez!—frosh is going better than it has before!’ ”
And yet even these stringent measures could not prevent tragedy. Last Monday, Queen’s students on their way to rugby practice discovered the body of Cameron Bruce, an 18-year-old freshman from Connecticut, on the lawn outside his residence, just hours before he was to start classes. The night before, Bruce had attended an engineering banquet—a sort of last hurrah to end engineering frosh week. After dinner, he walked back to residence with friends. What happened next is still shrouded in mystery: police suspect no foul play, and they’re investigating whether alcohol played a role in the incident.
News of the death brought the inevitable newspaper editorial: “Be it the mass drunkenness of Aberdeen Street or young people getting a dubious initiation to booze in peer-pressure-filled orientation activities,” wrote the Kingston Whig-Standard, “the greater community has long quietly wondered: what will it take for Queen’s to do something about this? Does someone have to die?” The incident’s significance was not lost on students: “I think it’s the beginning of the end of frosh week,” one told Maclean’s.
No, actually. It’s the end of frosh, full stop—not just at Queen’s, but everywhere. A generation of children raised in an era so risk-averse that schools ripped seesaws, parallel bars and fireman’s poles from playgrounds has come of age and gone to university. The halcyon days, when freshers set cars and couches ablaze and guzzled beer at university-sanctioned keggers, now grow dim and will soon become distant memories. Many schools have retired the word “frosh” altogether, preferring less festive words like “orientation”; at the University of Ottawa, freshmen are referred to by the tin-eared sobriquet of “101er.” Official first-week events are now mounted sans booze. A handful of U.S. colleges are entirely dry. The University of Guelph this year, for the first time, made residences alcohol-free zones during frosh week. It’s a revolution some students call a “war on fun.”