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The “Living Rooms” of Campus

September 6, 2019

This piece represents the opinion of the Bowdoin Orient Editorial Board.

Congratulations to everyone for making it through the first week of classes. It’s finally the weekend! Tonight, hundreds of students—predominantly first years and sophomores—will descend upon the College Houses. And tomorrow, it will happen again.

To those first-year students planning on attending house crawl: this may be your first time drinking. Or maybe you won’t drink this weekend, this year or ever. Regardless of your choices, you will see in these two days the nature of the College House party: eclectic dancing, suspiciously sticky floors and speakers blasting “Mr. Brightside.”

At these events, like the many others that you may attend during the next four years, the tenets of Bowdoin’s social norms remain: respect yourself and others, be aware of the impact of your actions and look out for one another. As you’ve learned during orientation, the first few months of school are the most common times for sexual assault and misuse of alcohol to occur.

For students who were transported in years past, what remained from house crawl were not fond memories of a great first weekend, but a letter home and a bill to pay. In addition, the new friends who aided in their care may have spent the night anxious about their well-being. This is not to scare you, but rather to remind you that there are consequences for your actions.

Those of us on the Editorial Board distinctly remember events from house crawl during our first years. At Bowdoin, party life is neither isolated nor anonymous. Our friends remember our actions during these first nights out—even the friends we had yet to make.

Consider too, how you can leave a positive impact on those around you: intervene in a potentially unsafe situation; call a Safe Ride for a new friend in need of support; open up your dance circle to someone to ensure that they feel included; be an active bystander; simply ask if someone is doing OK.

To everyone else: be aware of the power that you have as an older student. Many of you serve in leadership roles as residential life staff, Peer Health advocates, orientation trip leaders and TAs, to name a few. First years look up to you and may feel more easily pressured by you. What may appear as a fun invitation may sound to a younger student like a challenge to prove that they are “cool enough.” Be careful not to put someone in that position; as an older student, you have a responsibility in shaping our community. Younger students will follow your lead.

At the same time, be sure to have fun. Enjoy coming back to old friends and discovering new ones. Tuesday at convocation, President Clayton Rose said “tomorrow, college begins.” To that, we reply, “tonight, college begins.”

This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is composed of Emily Cohen, Brianna Cunliffe, Roither Gonzales, Rohini Kurup, Alyce McFadden, Nina McKay, Danielle Quezada, Reuben Schafir and Jaret Skonieczny.


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