Remembering the number of words one photo contains, I consider the words that come to mind when I look at this picture taken outside of the Link a few weeks ago. The snow has since melted away, but the words remain. The first word that came to my mind was “funny.” Next came “creative.” I am amazed at the creativity that comes from our student population and I have had the pleasure of knowing many hilarious and innovative people on this campus. The word “celebrate” also comes to mind. It looks like just a little too much celebrating was going on for Miss Frosty.
But then I question, “Of all the brilliant people on this campus, this is what we choose to celebrate?” Out of snow and ice we have made a monument to glorify excessive drinking to the point of pissing oneself and puking in a public place. This monument takes human form on Facebook and Twitter feeds dedicated to posting pictures of people passed out on our campus.
Now, I’m not here to say that alcohol is wrong. I appreciate an ice-cold beer as much at the next person, but I just want to make sure we are all aware of what we are celebrating on this campus. It isn’t social justice… it isn’t academic excellence… It’s the total obliteration and self-degradation of an individual who has chosen to consume so much alcohol that her body cannot function properly.
You might think that I am over reacting over a snowman, but this snowman represents real people on this campus every weekend. As an RA I see real life scenes like this each year and cringe every time I hear an ambulance pull up on campus in the middle of the night. I don’t need to ask anymore, I know its alcohol poisoning.
We used to be a school where students marched for civil rights. Now we ride front seat on the drunk bus down to Mac’s. Times have changed. And why shouldn’t we feel the need to celebrate parties and jungle juice over peace and justice when the higher ups of our institution have strayed from that mission as well? They say we are a school for peace. Why did we invite a war hero to speak at commencement in 2011? They say we are school for justice. Why did we outsource our housekeeping department cutting benefits for members of our local community?
There is a difference between what we are saying and what we are doing, and it is represented in the celebration of this snowman. Somewhere along the line we all have stopped holding each other accountable for the mission of St. Ambrose. If we want to change our mission and be a party school that brings in more and more students each year, that’s fine. But I just want to make sure we are all aware that the change has already taken place.