Historically speaking, prohibition of just about everything has failed in one way or another. More specifically, look at the 10 years that prohibition on alcohol lasted. During that time the only thing that changed wasn't the amount of alcohol consumed and produced, but instead the number of people consuming alcohol legally. Now, I know what you're thinking, how can something which happened nearly 100 years ago be relevant? Well, if that is your logic, then we are already on the same page. The idea of a dry campus is dangerous and doesn't promote sobriety among its students. Actually, it has the opposite intended effect. If we believe the research, two in five students “binge drink” and as many as 1,400 die each year of alcohol-related causes, mostly drunk driving (background on alcohol abuse.) If the bathrooms on campus weren't a dead giveaway to the alcohol consumption on this campus, then trash is. Firsthand, I've seen bathrooms with their floors covered in urine, and vomit, sometimes blood. What's worse is that more often than not, the janitors are left to pick up all the trash from the broken things across campus, Facilities-Operations (fac-ops) comes and fixes what's broken, the students get billed, and the cycle begins anew the next weekend. Every time the trash is taken out it sounds like sleigh bells with the mass amounts of glass bottles in the trash. The campus has found that incidents involving students breaking or damaging campus property can very easily be traced to alcohol.
Ignorance is bliss until it becomes part of your tuition bill.
My sophomore year, I witnessed first hand the effect alcohol had on the campus. I was 21 before I even came to school here since I am a transfer student. I have never had to drink illegally while I've been a student here at Norwich. As a student here, it scares me to see people getting into situations where they could potentially hurt themselves-or worse-other people around them. The pub on campus provides legal drinks at a cost which many students can't afford to take advantage of, so the logical choice is to bypass that and enjoy some nice beverages purchased at any one of the various outlets selling alcohol within walking distance of campus. It is simply time to start taking action to make smarter policies to protect the students and the school. What this means is looking out for your friends. Always keep perspective.
How much is too much?
I can say this about the policy. When you say no to people in college there will always be a way around your rules. Students will find loopholes, or find people who are willing to look the other way. It simply does not work and it is time for Norwich to join other campuses in an effort to combat the rampant alcoholism and destruction of school property by letting people do what they should be able to do on their own free time. I cannot produce an exact figure, but I can definitely speculate that amount of money spent on security and campus repairs add up rather quickly. Just last semester, there were not one, but two instances where the vending machine in my building was broken into, and had all the snacks stolen out of it. It's disappointing to see. You may ask where I'm going with this, but I promise I'll tie all of this together nice and neat so people can see just how crazy it is to keep things the way they are. As they say, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting there to be different results. Why is the dated alcohol policy one of those things? Why has this been the chosen method, why don't students have a say? Well, the answer is actually simple. It has to do with the poor behavior alcohol causes on campus. Between the damages to glass in civilian buildings, numerous reports of sexual assault and/or harassment, even the fact that plexiglass had to be installed on the TV's in various parts of campus, these are all things you can thank the people who ruin things for everyone. They are the reason that the dry campus seems justifiable. Until people can help those folks on campus keep their act together, we won't see any progress. If this campus can't work "without alcohol" how do we expect leadership to allow us to even have a say as to whether or not it should be a dry campus. So, let's say you're one of the many people who's reading this and you stop and think, that doesn't sound like me at all, I don't break things, I do not drink in excess, and I am aware of my tolerance and limits encourage more people to do the same!
How can we break the cycle?
I am not saying that the intentions are in the wrong place when it comes to alcohol policy at Norwich University; however, a good long look at revision and analysis of current results is long overdue. It has gotten so bad that alcohol abuse has lead to our vending machines being broken into and stolen from so much that they were removed campus-wide. It's ridiculous, we are a college, as adults, we shouldn't be leaving a trail of destruction in our wake, it costs all of us, even the responsible people on campus a lot of money. The big issue is the violation of the alcohol policy, where students are expected to hold each other accountable and tell superiors if they suspect there has been a violation of this policy. This is a major cause of stress for many students, and on more than one occasion has lead to the dismissal of students from this University. I do not believe this approach works. We are not creating a culture of integrity, we are making a laundry list of stress, gripes and complaints from students ranging from having the moral and ethical dilemma of ratting out your friends, or risking getting suspended from the university over some beers. In some cases, VAPs can be used as blackmail. The double standard of only some people getting caught for drinking, and others not, creates a culture of either dishonesty, or enables people to blackmail others.