So you go to your first party as a thrilled freshman, buy a red party cup for $5 and have a great time with your friends. Congrats! You just took your first step into the “Wisconsin Experience” and are on your way to becoming a full-fledged UW-Madison student.
Ever since 2010, UW-Madison has been constantly ranked as one of the most notorious party schools where students enjoy their college experiences while also maintaining academic success. According to the university’s website, UW-Madison has nearly 60 organizations that are made up over 4,000 members, including numerous fraternities and sororities.
If we take a brief glance back into history, it is possible to see that frats and sororities date to Dec. 5, 1776, when Phi Beta Kappa Society was founded at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Little did the founders know that this decision would spark an unprecedented tradition that will affect the lives of future college students all over the United States. Looking on the bright side, such organizations are still providing the perfect social environment to meet new people, establish strong bonds and expand horizons.
On the other hand, it is a well-known fact that alcohol and substance use are common in such organizations. According to a research by Harvard University, four out of five fraternity and sorority members are binge-drinkers. To make matters worse, these organizations are given permission by the university to throw parties, which often include alcohol and even recreational drugs.
To become a permanent member of a frat, one needs to prove himself worthy. During this process of “rush," future prospects undergo a selective series of trials while they desperately try to prove that they are dauntless by performing humiliating actions. While being a part of something bigger than yourself can boost morale, the sacrifices required are not enough to satisfy cravings of a narcissist teenager’s hunger for admiration. The most twisted part of this dilemma is that you don’t have to be 21 to play your part in this game. This is where Minimum Legal Drinking Age for the state of Wisconsin completely contradicts itself.
Countless questions arise due to the vagueness of the MLDA: If everyone knows what is going on, why does no one take action? If the law states the opposite, am I going to be guilty if I participate in these activities?
First of all, enforcement and fear factor will make this situation worse. Personally, I doubt that a random cop raid in a dorm or an underage drinking ticket are the most effective ways to teach a lesson. That money usually comes out of the parents’ pockets, not the child’s.
However, willful blindness will not help either. Believe me, your house fellow is fully aware that you are hiding that bottle of Svedka under your bed. You are only allowed to get away with it because they chose to ignore it. When you finally decide go to bed, your cleaning lady is having a hard time cleaning up after your mess since you “had a blast” last night. In her case, she is simply tolerating your childish foolishness due to her strong sense of duty.
I believe the absence of appropriate punishments needs to be fixed in our community; current measures are nothing more than various short-term solutions for long-term problems. As the young adults of today, we have to contribute to UW-Madison’s student body by being responsible for our own actions. We must be committed to this not because we are ordered to do so, but because it is part of our legacy as the Badgers of today and the leaders of tomorrow.
Mike is a freshman intending on majoring in business. Do you think UW-Madison's alcohol culture is a problem? What can be done to help solve it? Send all comments to email@example.com.