Social life on college campuses is an ever-changing entity that shapes one’s college experience. It is the backbone of all major organizations on our campus and allows for strengthened bonds between classmates from many different backgrounds. Often times, alcohol is a major proponent of the social gathering and has been enjoyed by students for years; and the majority of organizations on campus with social programming will offer it at some point.
There are some issues that arise with this fact and a top flight university like Drexel must and has started to address them. There are certainly issues with unsupervised and unregulated drinking events on college campuses. Events with tens of hundreds of people where students drink unlimited amounts will lead to major problems over time, a fact that no one can deny.
You may now be asking “how did the University decide how to fix this?” The answer is that they instituted a third-party bartender policy early last year for all fraternities and sororities holding events with alcohol on campus. The reason for this is that you now have adult professionals in charge of serving of age students and can regulate alcohol service in instances when a student becomes too intoxicated. With the new bartenders there came costs, about $500 per night,a sizeable amount for a group of college students who are already struggling to pay off student loans. The bartenders provided none of their own alcohol, their role is to simply open the beverages and ensure students are safe. So adding all this up, not only did the Greek Life organizations have to pay for their own alcohol but also now had to have professionals supervise them for it to be an acceptable event.
At the time of the policies creation, the issue of increased funding was not an issue. When the policy was started Greek life organizations could apply for the Fraternity and Sorority Events Reconciliation Grant. What that grant would do is reimburse groups which follow the policy of having bartenders at their social events by giving up to $500 to be used for non-alcoholic events. That means $500 for alumni events, community service projects, school spirit rallies, and so on. It meant that by following the extra policy of having bartenders, these groups would be able to improve the experience of students at this University, much like how SAFAC funds work. It would only work on a reimbursement payment system where only after the organization held the non-alcoholic event would they receive payment. The implications of that did a ton of good by both keeping social events safer and encouraging some students to become leaders on campus by planning fun events for their peers.
However, after only a few months of this policy having taken effect, the FASER grant funding dried up and the costs were passed onto the students in full. Either organizations used funding meant for non-alcoholic events and had to put that toward the bartenders, or just no longer registered alcoholic social events and moved off campus. Both of those scenarios are extremely unfortunate for a policy that was meant to do a lot of good.
What I propose is a move to re-establish the FASER grant immediately and to encourage organizations to hold high quality events that will benefit the campus as a whole. This is an opportunity for Drexel to heighten school spirit and push students to work both with alumni and diverse classmates. For over a hundred years, social events have happened on campus. Let’s make them something we are excited to have again.