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.