Senior Week now includes BYOB BBQ

Julia Ben-Asher

In an era of major changes and controversy surrounding the college’s alcohol policies, a time like Senior Week can highlight administrators’ and students’ different opinions. But when an open conversation takes place, the outcome can be successful for all parties.

Drew Williams ‘14 was filling out the 100 Nights survey when he arrived at the suggestion box for Senior Week events and recalled the idea of a friend who graduated a year ago. What Senior Week is about, he reasoned, is the entire class coming together. College sanctioned keg drops, currently disallowed by campus policy, would foster events on campus where everyone, regardless of their usual social circles, can gather and celebrate the past four years together.

Williams brought the issue up to friends and, upon receiving positive feedback, created an open Facebook group to gauge the support of his fellow seniors. It was overwhelmingly positive.

“Commence the conversation!” Williams wrote at the conclusion of the post explaining his idea. Over 70 seniors “liked” the post.

Moving forward, Williams’ meeting with Dean Paul McLaughlin made clear that the college policy not permitting kegs on-campus would not be changed. However, there was potential flexibility in other areas of alcohol policy during this week. Williams met with the Senior Class Council, including advisor Kristin Cothran and McLaughlin, all of whom were supportive of exploring other ideas.

“The whole campaign is not just about kegs,” Williams wrote in a Facebook post. “It’s much more about creating fun events on campus where seniors can gather to have a couple drinks and celebrate all of our accomplishments, friendships, and good times throughout our four years together.”

“Kristin and I were receptive to re-imagining senior week,” McLaughlin wrote in an email. “It was not really about the keg; it was about a community-wide event.”

The Senior Class Council decided that two events during Senior Week will now include the option of alcohol to seniors 21 and over. On Tuesday, at the President’s Senior Garden Party, beer and wine will be available; Wednesday features the new event of the Senior Class Barbecue on Anderson Courtyard, which will be BYOB up to the personal carry limit in cans. This will be an exception to the college’s open container law for that specific and isolated location and time.

“We are working to achieve students’ desire to share a drink with friends on-campus in a responsible way,” McLaughlin wrote. “This will be an important year for us to see how it goes and determine if we can do this in future years.”

“What we want just needs to be brought to the attention of the people who make decisions,” Williams said. “They’re not going to know otherwise.”