We never thought we'd say this, but we could learn a thing or two from Colby. Well, maybe just one thing.

Our friends in Waterville have garnered national attention for experimenting with alcohol?in the dining hall, that is. Students of age are invited to purchase a beer or two (or a glass of wine) with dinner on Friday nights. To ensure that laws are not violated, students who imbibe dine in a separate room.

While it may seem strange at first, the benefit of a program like this is readily apparent: it encourages moderation and social drinking?a stark contrast of the harmful binge drinking so prevalent on campus today.

Students who have their first serious contact with alcohol in college too often associate it only with wild parties and excessive drunkenness. Providing an outlet for a more measured, civilized consumption of alcohol would go a long way in demonstrating that it can contribute to social life in a more positive way than it does in the basements of social houses. Some point to Jack Magee's Pub as evidence that such an outlet already exists. But the bar scene is no substitute for the example set by the moderate consumption of alcohol with a meal.

Bowdoin's reluctant response to the Colby program is an understanding initial reaction to an unconventional policy. Upon further reflection, we believe the College will find that the Colby model is nothing but reasonable and socially responsible. We find the administration's concern that the policy would create "age segregation" wholly unpersuasive.

Moreover, such a plan would be entirely consistent with the Mission of the College: "Bowdoin makes few decisions for students, academically or socially. It does so believing that students grow morally and sharpen personal identity by exercising free individual choice among varied alternatives, curricular and social."

The matter as it presents itself is a perfect example of an issue that can profit from strong student leadership. The Bowdoin Student Government's impressive response to overcrowding at the gym serves as an excellent model for actively responding to the wishes of the student body. We feel confident asserting that the students will overwhelmingly support expanded beverage choices in the dining hall and call on the BSG to work constructively with the administration to bring this to fruition.