Everyone wants the world to change in some way, shape or form. Everyone has an opinion on how things could be better. I really believe we spend an inordinate amount of our waking time trying to figure ways to improve congestion on campus, to make classes more productive, to have perfect class attendance or to create enough parking to make everyone happy. So lets investigate one fairly dramatic solution to a great many problems - problems caused by alcohol.
I think we as conscientious members of the MSU family could do our part to make this a better world. Every so often we see on the pages of The State News ads that speak of the number of drinks MSU students partake in a week. We travel down Grand River Avenue and see the lines of individuals looping around the corner down Abbott Road, waiting to enter the lower levels to drink themselves into unconsciousness.
Every football game brings out the best of Spartan alumni, hangers-on, crazed students and everything in between to present to the world a picture of what alcoholism looks like. Our collective memories are filled with instances of drunken behavior on campus. It is hard to put the recent years riots into perspective without the overriding influence of alcohol on the young and old alike.
Maybe its time to look closely at MSU and the community around it and forge forward to make some simple changes. Here is my suggestion: Why dont we all gather down by the Red Cedar River, either in song or in a van, and pledge our allegiance beside the symbol of our resolve, Sparty. Let us raise our glasses. Oh, sorry about that! Let us raise our eyes heavenward and pledge that no more will we cast ourselves with those who seek to defame our university. Let us loudly say, I will drink no more!
With that pledge, I suggest we go forth in every direction from the feet of Sparty, perhaps as far out as 25 miles and in whatever manner we can (hopefully through legislation performed by those illustrious leaders of our state, who have given us the right to carry concealed weapons) cause to be illegal the consumption or sale of alcohol in that renaissance zone of moral dignity. With a firestorm of support, we could revolutionize the new millennium, driving the true demon of the world from our midst.
And what effect would that have? Grand River Avenue would take on a whole new look. No beer cans or cigarette butts (the evil sidekick of alcohol) would litter the landscape. Cigarettes need to be mentioned here because they go hand in hand with alcohol. Who remembers a bar that doesnt reek of smoke? No booze - no smoke.
The long lines of ready-to-be-inebriated bar-goers would disappear. These rowdy lines would be replaced by a new vibrant society - young men in suits and sport coats and young ladies in gaily colored dresses, parading down the avenue. No longer would we have bars dispensing billions of gallons of hooch every day of the week. These establishments would ply their clientele with fresh herbal teas and exotic coffees. Conversation would be raised to a level of learned esteem. Poetry reading and critical discussion on the laws of thermodynamics would become the staple of the intellectual diet. Coarse language would disappear.
I can see it now. Friday and Saturday in East Lansing would revolve around lucid moments of deep conversation. Discussion of the weeks activities in each course would become the basis upon which to expand the knowledge of all those gathered in bistro, fraternity and dormitory study room alike. Cultural conversation would replace incoherent gibberish brought on by too many shots of cheap liquor and pitchers of generic beer.
There would be no disturbances, no violence, no untoward thoughts or actions. The university would blossom as a true place of learning. On football weekends, families could gather unmolested by slobbering drunks and enjoy the beauty of MSU without the fear of flying projectiles, lewd behavior and foul language. When tailgating, people could actually remember they were on campus for a football game, not simply staking out a place to collapse in a stupor when the brain completely shuts down with alcohol poisoning. The sound of laughter would pour from people totally immersed in fun, not laughter aimed at filth-crusted slugs.
Imagine entering Spartan Stadium without the ever-poisonous alcohol haze that surrounds so many of the ticket-holders. Can you truly picture an actual football experience that is not tainted by those dazed creatures who always sit in front of you and throw up on your shoes? It can be so, simply with the removal of the one true evil - alcohol.
Think of fraternity and sorority life. No longer would the media need to sneak hidden cameras into those secret societies to try and catch liquor infractions. With the sense of propriety and the removal of the addictive liquor, the only thing that would be seen is conscientious individuals sipping Diet Coke or Pepsi. Greasy pizzas would give way to small finger sandwiches and cloth napkins. The genteel life could return to MSU. An earlier, calmer period of existence would spread across the countryside, influencing the non-university crowds to raise their standards.
There are solutions to many of the problems we face. Maybe it doesnt require drastic action or more legislation. Maybe it only requires one small word - responsibility.
Craig Gunn, an academic specialist at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, can be reached at email@example.com.