Courtesy of unc.edu

Partly thanks to films like “Animal House,” college parties across America have received a reputation of debauchery and mayhem. While maybe exaggerated, it’s no secret that college students like to have fun. With safety, legality, and general campus order in mind, a number of strict policies have been adopted along for campus parties and events.

Governing everything from host responsibility and alcohol consumption to number of guests and event registration, these rules are extensive and, at times, overwhelming.

Enter SA’s “Bash by the Books,” a campus party honoring all of the University’s best practices.

On April 19, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., members of the Students’ Association (SA) invites UR to the Drama House for a party “that rules.” This tagline expresses the SA’s desire to run a party that follows University policies and regulations.

“The point of this program is to run a party using the best practices and under all the University policies” SA Communications Chair  and junior Rishi Sharma explained. This includes needing UR identification to enter the party, presenting a 21+ UR ID to be served alcohol, and the use of SWARM monitors. Sharma admits that most frat parties probably do not follow University party codes perfectly and that “there’s a lot to be learned here. But that information can only be gathered if people give it a try.”

According to “Bash by the Books” organizer  and All Campus Judicial Council (ACJC) Chief Justice Andrew Cutillo, The Students Wanting Alcohol Responsibly Managed (SWARM) program is what gave way to the event’s planning.

“A group of SA members decided to go through SWARM training together to learn how we could be better bystanders in our own lives. The training taught us and reminded us of a number of best practices, and we wanted to share that advice with our peers,” Cutillo said.

While most students on campus think of SWARM monitors as the fraternity brothers who manage the crowd outside the front door, the purpose of the SWARM program is much greater and should be recognized for its helpfulness in managing parties. According to the University Health Services website, “SWARM encourages students and staff to make an intentional decision to intervene in a situation that has the potential to be risky, dangerous, unhealthy, or an emergency.” This is a creed sometimes taken too lightly by the parties hosted on the fraternity quad.

And what exactly have the fraternities been saying?  Sharma clarified that “members of the planning board are part of Greek organizations. Many of those organizations have expressed support for the idea, and we’ve received no negative feedback.”

The party has picked up considerable momentum based on the number of groups that are now offering help, contributing resources, and brainstorming ideas. Still, this event is independent of any fraternity party hosted on the quad.

Worth noting is the originality of the party. This is the first time SA will be sponsoring a party on the fraternity quad, so it will be a new experience for all. Ultimately, “students can determine for themselves what is and isn’t fun. We think this is going to be a blast, so I hope anyone who’s curious will stop by with their friends and check it out for themselves,” Cutillo said.

As much as this is a fun event for the student body, it is also a learning experience for the members of SA.

“People can come in with assumptions, but we’re really asking them to test those once they enter,” Sharma said. “If people do not have fun, that is absolutely worth something, and then it may tell us something about our policies.”

It is the hope of SA that feedback about this event will allow for a dialogue to emerge between the student body and administration regarding party policies and ways in which they can be improved.

Perhaps this party concept reminds us of the old adage, “you make your own good time.” College, in that sense, is what you make of it and the parties that you attend are as well.

“Bash by the Books” is a courageous endeavor being explored on a campus that is mixed in its feelings about party management.

Its success, at best, could create the foundations for a better relationship between social event hosts and administration. Its failure, at worst, could result in a crackdown on just how much students care about managing risk at parties.

In the end, it is up to the students to decide the success of this bash.

Gilboard is a member of the class of 2015.



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