W.I.L.D.ly inappropriate policy shift
This W.I.L.D. is witnessing a change to the University’s alcohol policy. In years past, students 21 and over have been allowed to bring a six pack of beer to the event; now, students of the legal age will be given wristbands that give them access to three cups of beer, which will be provided there. The new policy is condescending, encourages to students to get hammered before W.I.L.D. even more than they already do and will fail to accomplish its aims.
The rationale behind the new approach to alcohol at W.I.L.D. is fairly clear. The administration wants to cut down on underage drinking (which is, incidentally, itself a laughably stupid if well-intentioned attitude to take toward W.I.L.D.), and by requiring students to present wristbands before they receive alcohol, it hopes to limit minors’ access to it. By limiting students who are 21 and older to only three beers, the administration will, it hopes, decrease the likelihood of students distributing their precious booze to those who cannot procure some of their own, which will in turn result in fewer wasted minors.
This is nonsensical. In my experience at five W.I.L.D.’s, I have never seen student-provided six packs making an appearance in noticeable numbers; in fact, the only time I did notice was when a friend of mine, who was 21, brought his own. He drank responsibly enough that, later that night, he found himself playing chess on the Loop. In contrast, every student I’ve known who has passed out, vomited or had a terrible experience due to much alcohol consumption, suffered his or her ordeal because of copious amounts of pre-gaming, or smuggling hard liquor into the event in hip flasks, 5-hour energy drink bottles, or other small containers.
And that is exactly what this new alcohol policy is encouraging. By spring W.I.L.D., everyone is familiar with the long food lines and the fascistic employees who oversee the handout. The idea of going through a similar process for alcohol is unappealing at best and makes students who would otherwise consume alcohol slowly and responsibly at the event more inclined to get outrageously besotted before the event. Of course, the line may well be shorter, but the point of drinking beer at W.I.L.D. at all is undermined when one must walk to and stand in a line for every beer one wants, assuming the beer provided is to one’s liking. When asked what he thought of the new policy, one 21-year-old responded “I think it’ll make me drink more before the event, because before, I could choose whatever kind of beer I wanted, as opposed to having to drink whatever they are providing.”
Ultimately, though, the new policy is misguided because it will do such a poor job of minimizing drunkenness that happens at the event. Very few people arrive at W.I.L.D. sober, or even moderately intoxicated, and many leave barely able to stand as a result of alcohol consumed there. Of these, even fewer are members of the 21-and-up crowd, most of whom have been drinking steadily since arriving at college, if not before. The new policy only serves to annoy those whom the law deems responsible enough to be given access to alcohol. It will not reduce the amount of drinking that occurs, or the level of intoxication students reach, and if anything, it will increase it. In the interest of students’ health and happiness, the new policy should be repealed.