Saturday, March 31, 2007


As I gaze longingly back at years of yore, reflecting on my precious half-decade involved at UBC, I can't help but notice the absolute depths to which campus community have plummeted. Seriously. Where are all the beer gardens?

I used to love beer gardens. Not because I'd get smashed, but because it was where the community happened. A bzzr garden wasn't about beer, it was about the roving community of people who'd hang out on Fridays, travelling the campus. I can say that, without hesitation, but for beer gardens I'd never have been elected to BoG. In all honesty, involvement in that social circle was that tiny bit of a foot in the door that got me involved in the orbit of campus politics.

I can't help but feel that those days are behind us. And I, for one, find that sad. Even more sad are the explanations I've come up with. (And yes, I do spend time worrying about this. For reals.)

  • Admissions averages. Students have higher marks coming out of high school, and are expecting to keep them. Fridays are less beer-y, more study-y.
  • Higher tuition, more loan dependency. Students are more likely to be working on Fridays or studying (because they were working on Thursday) or sleeping because they're exhausted.
  • Pressure to get second degree. The first degree is becoming rapidly obsolete. Students feel the need to get into grad/law/med school, and that means higher marks.
  • Police crack-down. Seriously. What gives? The cops showed up to every beer garden on campus in the first semester, creating a "chill" around future events. They're denying licenses and killing on-campus booze-based socializing.
  • The "millennial" generation. Bzzr gardens are a starting off point for entrepreneurial fun. You really have to make your own, bzzr gardens were just a way to meet up and get started. The millennial generation are kids who like rules, need a little hand-holding, and are far more likely to go to a more formal party environment or structured social activity.
  • Specialization of fun. Less affinity and sense of community to the institution as a whole, more with narrow friends. Probably a function of the combination of things above.

I could be wrong. But I don't think I am.

And the worst part? Grad, law, and med schools don't need more keener kids, they need well-rounded people with *gasp* social skills. And here's a tip - in the real world, people drink booze. Sometimes a lot. And college is probably as good a time as any to learn how to drink socially. It's way better than getting blasted on tequila in res.

I miss beer gardens.

(Yes, I'm aware of the irony of my posting this at 11pm on a Saturday. I'm in the middle of a paper. Bite me.)