The University of Wisconsin made headlines a couple weeks ago when it was named the fifth-best value of public colleges in America by Princeton Review. The university gave itself a pat on the back for this, as it should
have. However, we also came out as the 14th best party school in America. Now, I am not
opposed to a little partying and drinking, but I realize that the extent to which Badgers do it is ridiculous. I think we as a campus should slow
down.

I am not asking the campus, Madison or America to put any new restrictions in place or
implement any new policies to stop college kids from drinking. It’s ridiculous that men are forced
to register for the draft before they can legally have a beer. I think it’s ridiculous that high schools
across America can completely change a kid’s life because he was caught drinking. It’s absurd
that marijuana is a Schedule One drug and cocaine is not. It’s ludicrous that our campus, at times,
actively seeks out students that have been drinking or smoking.

I’m not challenging the fact that we have students go to detox every night of the week, nor the
fact that our dorm’s drinking policy is less one of “don’t drink” and more one of “don’t get caught.” I’m just saying we
need to change our drinking culture.

Anyone who lives in Sellery or Witte is all too familiar with nights when the entire floor is up until four
in the morning talking as loudly as they can in the hallway, causing mischief or barfing in the bathroom.
Now having this experience once or twice can be a great bonding experience for a floor, but when it
happens every night of every weekend without fail, it becomes obnoxious and unhealthy.

There is a joke I’ve heard about this campus, that you leave Madison with “a piece of paper and a touch
of alcoholism.” Unfortunately for many students, this is true. There are plenty of people on my floor that
have started to develop alcoholic habits. While I understand that college kids are going to drink, the rate
at which we do it is ridiculous.

I have tried vigorously to convince a few people
on my floor to go to coffee shops or free concerts on the weekends. I have yet to find a group that will abstain from
drinking with me on Friday and Saturday nights in favor of a tamer alternative. There are more ways to
have a good time than drinking and scouring Madison for house parties.

As a freshman, my experience at Madison leads me to believe that a very large number of students here
spend most of their weekend nights drinking. In the Southeast residence halls, it is nearly impossible to avoid the
culture of drinking over the course of any given weekend. I am not saying alcohol is an evil intoxicant
that should never touch your lips until you are over 21, but in a city as interesting as Madison, there are
plenty of other fun things to do over the weekend that don’t seem to get the attention and priority that
partying does.

The last thing I want is for this article to be misconstrued into an argument for more restrictions on
drinking. I am instead arguing that we as a student body need to change our culture of drinking.

Why is it that there are more people at any given party than at the Rathskeller on most weekend nights?
Why do so many students choose to spend their time drinking in the dorms and trying to find addresses
than going to coffee shops and restaurants?

We as the next generation of UW students have an opportunity to change this. I’m not saying we can’t
party, but throw in a trip to an art museum some weekend, throw in a trip to Coffee Bytes every once
in a while, go to a concert whenever you feel like it. You’ll find mixing things up a bit more than just drinking
Jack instead of Captain will not only be fun, but make you feel like you are accomplishing something
and maybe even maturing.

Do what you will this weekend, but I think I know how I’m going to spend mine. If you need me I’ll
probably be at some coffee shop on State Street.

Spencer Lindsay ([email protected]) is a freshman majoring in political science.