Cancelation not a big deal

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I’m not much of a partier. I enjoy the occasional beer or whiskey, but for the most part I keep my drinks virgin.

I prefer a good night in with a good book or good friends over a night at a loud bar on all but special occasions.

I’ve only been truly trashed once (and will never touch Rum Chata again) and don’t plan on doing so anytime soon.

I don’t have any strong feelings on binge drinking beyond “don’t drink and drive” and “don’t be so stupid you end up in the hospital.” I’m even for lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18.

But all I’ve been hearing these past couple of months is “Springfest” this and “Fire Kelly” that. My response: Really?

I get it. I really do. There is a good reason to fight for your right to party. Springfest has been a tradition, and one valued by the students who are embracing one last moment of drunk freedom before finals take over their lives.

Here is a line being crossed when it comes to banning alcohol in the park that day because officials are worried about an unofficial Springfest.

And to those of you who are for canceling Springfest and keeping certain off-campus areas dry as well, I get it too. Binge drinking can end very badly.

As an EMT, I remember seeing what excessive alcohol can do to a body. And yes, it’s true that those of us who choose to stay sober don’t much like dealing with drunk folk on a sunny afternoon. And of course, bad decisions are made around Springfest and can hurt UND’s reputation as a school.

But I still stand by my response: Really, guys? Really? This is what we’re choosing to get worked up about? A booze-fest near a college campus? Wow, because that kind of thing doesn’t happen at any other college campus in America.

There are so many more important issues that need our attention. Marriage equality is little more than a dream in North Dakota right now. The oil fields may be causing irreparable damage out west. Sex trafficking has become a much larger problem thanks, again, to the oil fields. I know more people who have been sexually assaulted than those who haven’t. Don’t get me started on the amount of spousal abuse that exists in this “great” state.

But instead, we’re getting worked up over college shenanigans? I can’t wrap my mind completely around this. I understand why folks see it as a big deal, as I’ve already explained, but how, I ask, are we making this so much more than it has to be?

I could go all conspiracy theorist on you, claim it might be a way to distract us from other university issues, but I think that’s a stretch. Honestly, I think it boils down to tradition.

As I said before, I’ve never attended Springfest, but I knew how much my peers looked forward to it. It was a moment of release after a hard year’s work before the real stress began. It was something that was talked about year round, a college student’s version of Christmas, with booze for presents.

And it can be hard to let go of traditions, especially if you feel like they’re being forcibly taken away. This becomes even harder when traditions don’t mix. But maybe we’re all looking at this the wrong way.

The elimination of Springfest, no matter what side of the fence you’re on, can lead to new opportunities. Some probably (okay, some will) involve lots and lots of drinking. Others will be completely booze-free. Just because a tradition is ending doesn’t mean that the world will end with it.

And you know what the best part of this approach is? We can start making new traditions, traditions that might just be able to satisfy everyone. We can be part of a new legacy. This does not have to be a negative thing.

But the most important thing about just accepting the change is the fact that acceptance means we don’t have to fight anymore — we can go on to fix the things that really need fixing and put all this pettiness behind us.

Kjerstine Trooien is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].

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