Rather than endorsing a campus pub, Capilano University should focus on other ways to build community
Annie Zhou, Contributor
Heather Haughn, Illustrator
Over the years, Capilano University students have actively pushed for a student pub. The rationale is that it would provide students with a place to socialize, unwind and connect over a drink or two. But, as educators, should the University promote the consumption of alcohol on school grounds? While a pub would provide another spot to socialize, overwhelming research shows that drinking at school can affect academic performance, as well as health.
In fact, a publication from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that students who consume alcohol are more likely to miss class, do poorly on their assignments and receive lower grades. In addition, students who drink also put themselves at risk of other things such as health problems, injuries, unsafe sex and even involvement with the police.
When a person uses drugs or alcohol, it interferes with the regular traffic patterns of their neurotransmitters, which are essential for sending information from one part of the brain to another. This can result in messages being sent to the wrong part of the brain, and plays a role in how we act and react. This is not by any means new research, and yet we tend to normalize drinking as a social activity despite the known harmful effects.
Unsurprisingly, an article in the New York Times also shows that students who drink on a daily basis at school are more likely to end up in bad situations. Sadly, this ends in tragedy all too often. According to a fact sheet from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the US, “about 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries [each year]”. A further 97,000 experience alcohol-related sexual assault.
Another issue that arises is students driving under the influence. As a commuter school, allowing a campus pub would significantly increase the likelihood of drunk driving, since many students use cars to get to school. We all know how poor decisions can be made when judgement is impaired and convenience is at stake.
This is not to say that drinking is bad in all contexts. However, as a place of learning, it seems counterintuitive to promote a drinking culture, especially in an environment where there are minors. If students are looking to create an inclusive and social space, the school would be better off investing in more common areas.
A campus pub may seem “cool,” but overall, it’s unnecessary. Providing easy access to alcohol is just one more thing to be distracted by – far better to connect over a coffee in the cafeteria, take a hike with a few friends or work on that assignment that’s due in two days. And if the urge for a beer is too great, walk 10 minutes and hit up Seymour’s Pub. It’s not that far. Let’s promote a thinking culture rather than a drinking culture.