Dialogue on Drinking: End of an Era?
Sam Loewner and I focused on the controversial administrative responses to State Patty's Day, while Geoff Halberstadt and I established a Dialogue on Drinking in which we discussed, among other things, what we owe to one another as students, faculty and administrators. So I thought we might continue this tradition with Lauren Perrotti, President of the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Council for the 2011-12 academic year.
In light of all that has happened at Penn State in the last year, new questions and issues have emerged around the drinking culture at the university. Those issues have recently been brought into focus by an Op-Ed article in the Daily Collegian written by Sam Richards and Laurie Mulvey which argues that students should say no to State Patty's Day this year. What is your take on this issue, Lauren?
LaurenPerrotti: First, I'd like to thank you, Sam, and Geoff for cultivating a meaningful dialogue surrounding this issue. I think it's important to note that the seriousness and negativity surrounding State Patty's Day has always been important. The recent events don't make it an any more severe, but there's an enhanced need to come together as a community. As Penn Staters, we should never allow outside forces to control our decisions, and it is essential that we do not permit a fictitious holiday and out-of-town visitors to create a chaotic and destructive environment. It is up to us as the Penn State family to take a stand against State Patty's Day.
LAUSDeanLong: I read on PSU Live that a core group of student leaders have teamed up with Mayor Elizabeth Goreham and local businesses to curtail excessive drinking this weekend. It seems to me that if this is going to be successful, it will need to be a grassroots student movement, even if it involves collaboration with the Penn State and Borough administrations. State Patty's Day began as a student led initiative, it could be transformed by students. Are there plans to refocus the energy dedicated to State Patty's Day to other endeavors related to service?
LaurenPerrotti: State Patty's Day has begun to turn from a student sponsored event into a student service event. As more outsiders flock to State College to drink on this weekend, our hometown students are coming together in a big way to protect our community and help each other. The InterFraternity Council (IFC) has decided that there will be no social functions sponsored by fraternities on State Patty's Day, Residence Life has created a one guest per room policy for this weekend, and the Penn State Council of Lionhearts Service Leaders is sponsoring the STATE Day of Service. These initiatives, among others, hope to keep downtown State College a safe and fun place. We do so much good for this world when we work together. I hope that this attitude toward State Patty's Day prevails and it soon becomes a myth of a holiday practiced by past students. I do wonder though, will we transform State Patty's Day? Dissolve it? And how long will it take?
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