Friday, May 13, 2011

UWW: party school galore? Hurting your chances for a job? Drinking culture at its worst? (by Iggy)

So, I've been following this blog almost religiously, and I haven't really seen one that specifically addresses alcohol consumption. I think it is a pretty important issue, and I'm curious to see what people have to say about it. We all know a lot of students drink here in Whitewater, and it seems to be taken very lightly. Professors joke about the drinking habits of students, students have walked into classrooms after having a few, there are t-shirts out there being sold/worn by groups affiliated with the university that say things like, "It's not alcoholism til you graduate!" and advertising for "Thirsty Thursday", and there are usually ads in the school paper promoting different bars. So you get the idea. Drinking is promoted it seems, and never really ridiculed, however, I find there are reasons for it to be.

First, we have the story of Trey - the boy who was hit and killed by a drunk driver last year. Why is it that the front page of the school paper is all about "Zumba for Trey" and stories are printed about raising funds for his memorial "Field of Dreams", but the next page is all about drink specials and hangover breakfasts? I see a bit of a disconnect here - why do we need funds for a baseball field (when I am told there are three currently functioning fields in this town already) when the excessive drinking and miscarriage of responsibility (the original cause of the tragedy) is not addressed or even mentioned at all (unless I missed something)?

Second, there was a bust this school year that involved something like 140 students who were packed in a single basement. Is the need to party and drink so intense that students really feel compelled to enter a basement containing 100+ students (risking their safety), and actually STAY there until the cops manage to show up? What is the reasoning here?

Third, I have a story regarding someone I know. Spring break came around and a group of students (who drink regularly during the semester) went to party somewhere down south. During the vacation, one of the students drank excessively, ate sparingly, and hung out in the sun for several days straight, and probably got little sleep. This lead to a serious medical condition (Delirium Tremens was the diagnosis) that had to be treated at the hospital. Not only does this show that the effects of excessive drinking are REAL, but it also shows how far some students will go with their drinking. (This person now takes caution when drinking).

And lastly, I heard from someone (and this can be taken with a grain of salt, yet it still adds to the equation somewhat) that there are employers out there who, upon reviewing applications from people who have graduated from UW Whitewater, like to steer away from UWW graduates, because of how much of a "well-known party school" UWW is. Even if this is not exactly true, it makes me wonder - are we really seen this way at UWW? Does this school drink and party so much that employers avoid hiring UWW graduates?

Along with this, we have the "hook-up culture" that was brought up in a previous blog, that I don't doubt for a second is HIGHLY HIGHLY related to the "drinking culture" of college. I mean, if you're going to be hooking up with a stranger, it's a lot easier to do so when you've had a few (where do most college kids go to hook up? The bars or house parties). What's more, drinking can't be helping performance in school, especially when we have mid-week drinking nights like dimers on Tuesdays and Thirsty Thursdays.

Ok ok so I got the negatives out of the way. So let me address the positives - yes drinking is fun. I'll admit I'm currently sipping on a drink right now. It's relaxing, and makes people feel more comfortable around strangers. It ignites parties and gets people in touch with their "inner Satyrs", if you will. It unleashes some more, natural, uninhibited actions and emotions of people, and detaches everyone from the everyday humdrum activities and motions of daily life. This is all fine and dandy, but whatever happened to moderation? It appears to me that many students go far beyond what is beneficial, and take it to the extreme - you know the saying, "too much of a good thing is a bad thing".

So my question is, are we too alcoholic? Does anyone care if we are? Is it all about individuals and their ability to be personally responsible for their drinking habits? Does an effective message need to be sent out to the masses? Does UWW promote drinking a little too much? If so, can anything be done? Is this school a bad influence to incoming students who maybe have not yet developed a drinking habit? Just looking for thoughts here.


  1. I went to Trey's Field of Dreams fundraiser silent auction thing last night to support their cause. The cause being against drinking & driving. I was going to get some food there too but guess what they were also serving? Beer.

    Is that totally insane or is it just me? Did there need to be alcohol served at an event like that? What irony if someone drove home drunk or buzzed from that event last night.

    Yeah, I think there's quite the drinking culture all over Wisconsin if even "Trey" events have alcohol at them.

  2. I concurr with most of what's been said here. The reputation of UWW as a drinking school is certainly recognized. I used to visit a friend in the dorms when I was fresh out of highschool. He had a keg run through the dorm room wall from his neighbor so we could drink in his room without getting busted. Nearly a decade passed between those days and my current enrollment at Whitewater. I quit drinking prior to coming here, and to be honest it (the drinking culture) is much more pronounced when you're actively avoiding it. For instance on St. Patricks day it seemed that the entire population of Whitewater must have been Irish.

    When it comes to how employers view that kind of reputation, well that's up to them. You could make a similar argument about many other schools in Wisconsin, but what it comes down to is your own attitudes and what you want to get out of school. If you apply yourself and get the skills that employers are looking for, in the end they won't be able to say "no" because you'll communicate your value regardless of the circumstances that you may have been surrounded by. If they can't see your value then either maybe you aren't as "valuable" a prospective employee as you think, or they aren't somebody you should want to work for to begin with.

    In regards to the hypocracy surrounding the party culture, there are several reasons for it. Capitalism: alcohol sells, people who are drunk also have a hard time holding onto their cash.
    Social Norms: Wisconsin (dare I say America) is packed with people who simply see drinking as part of their lives. recreation and socialization, even family gatherings may seem like prerequisites to drinking.
    We stigmatize people who drink and drive, but really, we just don't like the results. If I get drunk, I've learned through experience that my behavior cannot be predicted. The first time I was pulled over for DUI I didn't even own a vehicle, some guy at the bar asked me if I could drive and naturally I "could." How does somebody make the discovery that they get into trouble and create dangerous situations when they drink? By creating dangerous situations when they drink. Avoiding the problem (specifically drinking and driving) in a society where drinking is accepted and encouraged is impossible. All that we get is knee jerk reactions and apologies, but nobody is willing to solve the problem. We just hope that it doesn't kill us or someone we love.

  3. I am getting ready to attend Whitewater in the fall and in reading this, it is making me wonder if Whitewater is the right choice for me as a student. I do not drink and only want to further my education. Are there good aspects to going to Whitewater or is everyone pretty much drunk all the time?

    1. No. People aren't drunk all the time. As at any school, there will be your partiers and your studiers. Sometimes they are the same people. Many times they are not. UWW is a big enough school that you can do what you want.