This year, for the first time, alcohol is completely prohibited in dormitories. The decision, administrators said, was because of the small number of 21-year-old students actually living in the dormitories.
The shift to a more residential campus has caused some growing pains for the university. The campus landscape has changed remarkably in the last 10 years. Socially, the campus has changed as well. For better or worse, the university now serves a broad range of students from all over Pennsylvania, the United States and many other countries.
When Vice President of Student Affairs Theresa Powell called for the formation of an alcohol and substance abuse task force last year, it was because of the growing problem of drinking on and around campus.
This year, the university has provided plenty of healthy alternatives to partying on weekends. Groups like Temple Health Empowerment Organization and Campus Alcohol and Substance Awareness still exist for the purpose of educating students toward healthier choices, but this year that education has been complemented with new ideas, such as extended IBC hours and food in the Student Center late into Friday nights.
But is there any way to keep college students from partying?
While the university continues to support programs to deter drinking, it is inadvertently putting students who drink in more dangerous situations. Most of the campus’ biggest trouble spots for underage drinking are in communities west of Broad Street, Capt. Robert Lowell said. These areas were largely unpopulated by students 10 years ago.
“We look at locations that have shown over time that there’s going to be a lot of underage drinking, injuries have occurred in the past, sexual assaults have occurred in the past,” Lowell said.
Whereas three years ago, a freshman may have partied in his or her dorm, the complete elimination of alcohol in residence halls has forced underage students in search of alcohol out into unsafe areas of the community.
We are in no way condoning underage drinking. But we think administrators should have seen the potential for such a problem before deciding to turn the university to a more residential campus.
If administrators did not want to deal with a drinking problem, they should not have planned upon a more residential campus.
With very few exceptions, a large population of college students in a campus environment is bound to create problems with drugs and alcohol. Underage drinking on college campuses is an issue with no foreseeable solution.