Nice Kickoff Concert, but where was the booze?

WEB-kickoff concert-julian giordano

September 2013 may have marked a shift in student life at SFU with its Fall Kickoff Concert, but our university still fails to come to terms with the prospect of alcohol consumption at pivotal on-campus events.

On the surface, it seemed as though SFU was the host of something vaguely resembling a typical university event — a concert with a huge turnout and a sound system overcompensating for lost times. I didn’t know about the concert until my friend phoned me up, and I was really excited for a moment, until learning it was a dry event. Why should a concert at a university be dry?

BC maintains that 19 is an appropriate age for individuals to consume alcohol responsibly and legally. The provincial government bans the consumption of alcohol in public places (e.g. in parks and on streets) unless there is an event such as a festival, whereby businesses with a liquor licence can serve alcohol.

Liquor laws stipulate that minors are not permitted to enter bars or clubs, and are not permitted to purchase alcohol from any institution — private or public. Therefore, with all this considered, alcohol could very well have been served at the concert.

Legislation at SFU dictates that liquor licences can be obtained as a “Special Occasion Licence.” Matt Zo and the welcoming of fall semester and to “da uNi lyfe” sound like one such special occasion. Based on this legislation, there is absolutely no reason that the consumption of alcohol by legal adults during the concert could not have been planned for.

By requiring a Special Occasion License for all events with alcohol, responsibility is ensured because the request needs to be processed by a liquor store first and by the RCMP thereafter. With all these steps clearly laid out, I do not understand why the concert was a dry event.

SFU’s approach to on-campus social activity is affecting how students carry themselves.

Even though minors were present at the event, measures could have been taken to accomodate all age groups if alcohol were to be served. Wristbands could have ensured minors weren’t served, so steps could have easily been taken to make a minor’s presence known to security. This is the case at any other concert involving alcohol, and can easily happen at SFU as well.

It’s exactly this absence of regular formative social activity in SFU’s campus life that creates such a lack of post-secondary social atmosphere. Moreover, it plays a large role in why many students never think of committing more time to the institution, joining clubs and unions, or even consider living on residence.

SFU’s “no fun” approach to on-campus social activity can also affect how students carry themselves. There will always be a feeling that they have not reached a higher level of responsibility by virtue of SFU’s strictly controlled social environment; perhaps they will ultimately resent the institution itself. Many of us already resent the strict policies — we bicker about it under our breath and shift uncomfortably when our UBC friends tell us about their pep rallies and beer garden BBQs.

Students would feel significantly more attached to the university if SFU catered to more than just academic obligations. Students would begin to develop a meaningful and more personal attachment to the institution if it allowed them the freedom to make their own choices, and the trust to make the right decisions.

Maybe this is too much to ask, but I can guarantee that when alcohol is placed before a mature, responsible student, like those found at SFU, no ill-effects would result. This includes large-scale concerts like the one we just had.

So the next time SFU plans to throw a concert, it better make sure to stock up its liquor cabinet, because I can assure you a thousand newly-legal students will make sure to plan accordingly if SFU doesn’t.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Rashed,

    You have raised some good points here, but you are also missing some facts:

    1) The Fall Kickoff Concert was mainly aimed at the first year students to welcome them to the University. It was a dry event yes, we host multiple +19 events at the SFSS Highland Pub (located by Convocation Mall) this semester, Such as but not limited to:

    a) SFU Got Talent (After party is +19 at the Pub)
    https://www.facebook.com/events/574605862600002/

    b) Oktoberfest
    https://www.facebook.com/events/1417747818443802/

    c) Halloween
    https://www.facebook.com/events/165961720268668/

    These are events at the Highland Pub in October 2013, for more events please check out: http://pub.sfss.ca/highland-pub/events/calendar

    or send me an email about specific date or an event!

    2) The Simon Fraser Student Society represents all of the Undergraduate Students at SFU, including the minors, hence a big project should not have excluded them by serving alcohol at such a large scale event

    3) Serving alcohol was definitely discussed between the committee that organized this event, and we faced obstacles such as, but not limited to:

    a)Traffic Control
    b) Safety Hazards
    c) University Opinion
    d) Risk Management
    e) Large increase in security cost
    f) 2000 impaired students transiting home
    g) Different Licencing for the event
    h) More Restrict insurance for the event
    and way many more!!

    4) We have our socials posted on the sfss.ca calendar, and if there is an event you would like to see, please come see me or join the events committee so we can look into it! We are always looking for fresh ideas and more volunteers to increase the community and engage our membership at SFU

    Please let me know if there is any further questions by sending me an email.

    Warm Regards,
    Moe Kopahi
    Member Services Officer – SFSS
    mso@sfss.ca

    • Hi Moe,

      You have raised some good points here, but you are also missing some facts (way many more!!):

      Alcohol at event = Real life

      No alcohol at even = Fake SFSS world

      “e) Large increase in security cost
      g) Different Licencing for the event
      h) More Restrict insurance for the event”

      Translation –> “We only care about $$s and didn’t want to spend more of it”

      “we host multiple +19 events at the SFSS Highland Pub (located by Convocation Mall)”

      I don’t know if you’ve ever actually been here (located across the way from the library beside MBC), but it’s shit. Cheaply made draught beer and potato vodka at high end prices for all.

      Please let me know if there is any further questions by sending me an email.

      Warm Regards,

      Juan Ramirez

      Member Services Officer – IRL committee

      Jramirez@irl.ca

        • The SFSS can never admit to being wrong. You know you’ve been outed for hosting a lame concert yet you still choose to defend it.

          Why couldn’t you have commented “Yes, I agree, we fucked up” instead of a list of arguments against someone’s opinion?

          http://lmgtfy.com/?q=define%3A+opinion

          “a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge”

          I know where my vote isn’t going next election!

          • I cant agree with you any more… You should Run in the elections, and bring Snoop Dogg and Dre in Convomall, meanwhile handing out free shots of Hennessy! YOU have my vote buddy!

  2. “SFU’s “no fun” approach to on-campus social activity can also affect how students carry themselves.” This is the most idiotic, self-entitled comment I’ve ever seen. It was a free event that you were under no duress to attend. If you decided you’d rather get hammered, go get hammered. What’s stopping you?

    What an absurd article.

  3. We ultimately decided against alcohol because Allah forbids it and we, the people, must respect everyone’s religious beliefs.

    “when alcohol is placed before a mature, responsible student, like those found at SFU, no ill-effects would result.” This statement is also absurd, SFU students are not responsible whatsoever.

  4. It just looks like the author of this article grew up as a spoiled brat who complained about not having whipped cream beside his ice cream and brownie.

    The SFSS put a lot of effort, time, energy and yes, money, into planning a huge concert to start the semester with a bang and welcome students to the Fall semester. Of course new students (of which a majority are underage) are a key target population, because if they can see that SFU can hold such a big, fun concert when they’re in first year, they will be motivated to continue asking and planning more events of the sort throughout their years at SFU. This concert was the first step of many towards deconstructing the “SFU=No-fun-university.” This author need perspective, and needs to learn when it is appropriate to complain, and when it is not.

    -A regular fourth-year SFU student