By NIKA VARDANYAN
The Tiber Café celebrated its fourth birthday in January. There was a lottery and a cake. However, in addition to the cake, there was also champagne. The celebration was at 2 p.m. and the champagne was passed around to both students and faculty.
While somebody might think that a little glass of champagne is nothing, I am convinced that alcohol should not be provided by the university (especially at such an early hour). All schools are supposed to encourage their students to lead a safe and healthy life. Universities should be the most concerned about it since their students, though technically of age, are still partially children. John Cabot University (JCU) seems not to care about the amount of alcohol its students consume. Moreover, it encourages them to do so. I personally know many adult people who used to be just simple partygoers at college, but suffer from severe alcohol-caused problems now, and I would like to prevent my fellow students from the same mistakes.
JCU holds multiple seminars and debates on different global problems, such as hunger in Africa and the conflict in Ukraine. However, as nice as it is, maybe we should start with our own problems. There are no posters with useful information about breaking bad habits, and how the university can help with that problem. The university has counselors who offer their services in helping students get over the addiction, but this is not advertised as it should be. While most students do not think that they have a problem, they may feel sorry about it later. Full-on alcoholism may start with just a few drinks with friends after classes. I think that proper advertisement may push some students in the right direction since some of them may realize that they drink too much but cannot stop due to the peer pressure or addiction. If they know that there are people who are ready to help, they may find enough courage to fight the habit.
Alcohol makes its way into many official dinners and parties. I am not talking about a glass of wine. I am talking about unsupervised bottles of red and white wine and champagne. Official events should not have so much alcohol too easily accessible to young people. A friend of mine told me that she, among with some other guys, drank so much wine and champagne on the last Spring Fling that she got sick after. Of course, it does not happen at every event and with every student, but if such things are possible, then maybe the university should at least look better at the state of the students at the events and do not give more to those who already have had enough.
On Tiber Campus’s ground floor, there are brochures about Rome and traveling for study abroad students. One of them is about drugs and alcohol. However, it does not mention health consequences, only the legal problems, that can ensue when drugs and alcohol are abused. The brochure is supposed to protect the university from trouble so that their students would not get arrested or hurt. However, nobody cares about long-term consequences, which could arise after having too much unsupervised “fun.” Drinking at such a young age can cause many health problems from gastroenteritis to cirrhosis to death. Girls might have problems with their reproductive system and guys risk erectile dysfunction. These are just a few of the possible problems. Most young people do not think about such things while they are having fun, since these things seem so far in the future. However, too many drinks now can cause many sad doctor visits in the future. I wish we had brochures and seminars about that.
I am a realist. I realize that we cannot just tell students not to drink and hope that they will listen. However, I am sure that we could do something if JCU paid more attention to the problem. Awareness raising could help with that. I am not against having a few drinks at a party or a glass of wine at an official event. However, I am against the regular use of alcohol consumption. There are so many ways of discouraging drinking, from the same old posters and brochures to having an alcoholism awareness week, I just feel like our university is not doing enough. Wine tastings, birthday champagne, alcohol on the events, Prosecco in the Tiber Café after 6 p.m. – these are just little things, but for some students they may seem like a seal of approval from the university on drinking as a normal thing to do.