By Danielle Cantey
We’ve all experienced the anxiety of entering a crowded lunch room alone on the first day of middle or high school. In those awkward grade school years, finding someone to sit with could be a daunting task. Sitting alone generally indicated you were some sort of social pariah. But once college begins, those anxieties and stereotypes about dining hall sociability disappear…or do they? Eating alone shouldn’t be an indication of loneliness or social status, but sometimes it is.
According to an article in The Dartmouth, Christopher McMillian, a senior at Dartmouth College, has implemented the Dartmouth Social Cup Program. The program is designed to combat the awkwardness of eating alone with special red cups. When the red cups are used in lieu of Dartmouth’s regular clear cups, they indicate that the student using it wouldn’t mind company. While there are students who have made fun of the program and others who complain about the cups’ ineffectiveness, the idea behind them is brilliant. As McMillian says in the article, “Students often feel uncomfortable or awkward when they are eating alone.”
The social cups are aimed at ameliorating some of the awkwardness associated with meeting new people. The cups may be ineffective when most people have established solid friend groups, but the program has great potential for freshman entering in the fall. What better way to improve freshman year than with a red cup that encourages people to come up and talk to you.
College Confidential features the perilous task of eating alone as a hot topic. Go to any dining hall on BU’s campus, and you’ll see a variety of diners: people eating alone, two people eating together, and people eating with groups of friends. In college and in life, eating alone is often a result of busy schedules and convenience. Luckily for those who feel too uncomfortable to embrace the solidarity of solo eating at Dartmouth, these red cups may just be the solution.
By Alexandra Diantgikis, Staff Writer
By Amira Francis, Staff Writer
Let’s talk alcohol. Sitting in my room, shuffling through article after article on the Internet, I stumble upon a title that shouts the name of my home-away-from-home: “Boston again ranked America’s drunkest city.”
Drinking. The never-ending quarrel between you and your parents. The passionate debate between two parties who both feel their ideal regulations must be implemented. The activity that occupies many a college students’ weekend nights.
After developing a few questions about college drinking culture, I consulted Archie Brodsky. Brodsky is an alcohol specialist who has co-authored several books, including Love and Addiction and The Truth About Addiction and Recovery.
Though drinking is often dismissed as innocent and casual it can also be very damaging.
“America has always had an uneasy relationship with intoxicating substances. In the United States unfortunately, the Northern European model has predominated over the Southern European and Asian model of more sensible drinking and viewing alcohol as one of life’s mild pleasures that may lubricate social interactions, but not something that should be allowed to get out of hand. If we had adapted the latter, we would be better off,” Brodsky said.
What exactly is the Northern European model, you ask? It’s something called a Temperance approach – regulatory actions and attitudes that urge less drinking and promote the idea that drinking is bad. This, however, can actually be detrimental to society in terms of alcohol abuse.
“The cultural attitudes that lead to abusive drinking or abstinence are an all-or-none attitude towards alcohol. People are taken up with the view of alcohol as this all-powerful substance that can just take over your mind and control your behavior.
Now, people may see that in a positive way, that they’re looking for some kind of oblivion or looking for some kind of potion that gives them power in life, and enables them to feel as if they are great, as if they are all-powerful, and naturally if people feel that way or are looking for some kind of escape, like regularly drowning their sorrows, then they get into a cycle where they drink more and more, in seeking this escape or oblivion, and they become addicted,” Brodsky said.
This type of drinking is often reflected in college life. Admit it, you probably don’t look at drinking as a health benefit. As a college student, it’s sometimes easy to get wrapped up in looking forward to the weekend because that’s when you’re going to get “wasted.” That’s when you can finally relax and lose control.
However, these drinking behaviors can easily lead to binge drinking.
“If anything, student binge drinking should show you that we don’t have very healthy or health-promoting views of alcohol. We don’t have ways of teaching young people about drinking that promote responsible behavior, responsible drinking. And instead, what you have is a peer group culture that has developed its own norms of binge drinking.”
So this leaves us pretty close to where we started. Drinking can be good or bad depending on how you approach it. We all know the potential dangers associated with drinking – domestic abuse, drunk driving, violence, crime. Being fully aware of how Americans approach drinking, and the consequences can make us more responsible in the present and in the future.