A bad first impression

Sep 012011
Authors: Justin Hill

Last Saturday was the start of a normal weekend for me. I got up around noon and went with my roommate to get breakfast burritos. But, instead of spending the afternoon watching “Family Guy” this weekend, I intentionally avoided the imminent chaos at my apartment building.
That’s right: I live at Campus Crossings at Ram’s Pointe.

Now, there have been speculations and facts thrown around all week about this pool party by opinions in the Collegian, local and national news and in general around campus. I thought I would throw in my two cents as a resident, a new transfer student and a sober observer.

This is my first semester at CSU.  I transferred here from a small community college in New York, entering CSU as a junior. I have never been much of a partier, but I am certainly no novice to the experience.

But what happened last Saturday gave a whole new meaning to the term for me.

I’ve been a college student for a few years now, and I understand the need to cut loose and explore ones new freedom in the world. So, I can agree with the views of Seth Stern that a certain level of responsibility comes with that new freedom, but also with the points made by Jordan Lavelle that hey, these are college kids we are talking about and they do have the right to consume as much alcohol as they please.

The thing I find most unsettling as a transfer student, though, is the image that these students are reflecting on both the local community and the national community at large.

Of course you have the freedom to party and assemble peaceably with your friends, but when my mother is calling me from New York telling me she heard about a CSU party gone wrong on the news, I get worried what kind of image we are painting of both ourselves and our peers.

It is sad that a miniscule population of the partiers, those who were arrested and those who were hospitalized, now represent the larger group of people who were just there to have fun. But sadly, that is the sensationalized media empire in which we live.

We as students — partiers or not — need to be conscious of the image we uphold at all times. I can’t say I had a definitively positive or negative view of CSU before transferring here, but since I have lived here, I have started to form a general view.

As with all things, there’s the good and the bad. But the latter, for me, was largely influenced by Saturday’s event. It reminds me of something I hoped to leave behind in New York: Guido culture.

The hundreds of loud, shirtless, muscular dudes and tan girls in revealing bikinis carrying red cups and handles of liquor create nothing short of a Midwest Jersey Shore image in my head. Quite frankly I find it both sad and appalling.

I really don’t want to come off like some sort of anti-party stiff, because I really do enjoy them on occasion. I just find it a problem when I have to watch as my peers are carried away from my place of residence due to over-consumption of alcohol at 3 in the afternoon.

I get the same terrible feeling when I have to watch 10 to 15 cops stroll across the common area of my apartment complex disbanding hundreds of wasted kids of all ages from a private residency.

Again, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy occasional drinking and its role in college social culture. But there is a point when people just take it too far without any regard for how it reflects their public image.

“I don’t care what people think of me. They shouldn’t be judging me anyway,” people may say.

I agree completely with this, but the harsh reality is that people do “judge,” and the fact that you are wasted and half naked on the lawn of my apartment complex a mile away from a college campus does not help your cause.

I have found many decent parties in Fort Collins that reflect positively on drinking culture in this city, and I feel sorry for the representatives of the school that are having to deal with this issue.

I urge my fellow students to think realistically and wholly about the potential ramifications of events like those of last weekend, because obviously, no one intended for it to turn out the way that it did.

All I can say is, I really hope the next phone call from my mom has to do with something other than the raucous booze culture at my new school.

Justin Hill is a junior journalism major. His column appears every other Friday in the Collegian. He can be reached at letters@collegian.com

 Posted by at 4:25 pm

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