By Shayna Han
There has been much heated debate over the new social policy at Union. Among many things, this dialogue has included a debate over which events led to the implementation of such a policy in the first place, and the questioning of the Concordiensis’ role in reporting student news. However, nothing has been said of the consequences for the newest residents of Union College—the freshmen! And let me tell you, we are all concerned.
Just so we are all on the same page, the new social policy of Union is that all Greek events are “closed” events, meaning that you must have an invitation to get in. In light of what has happened in the last few weeks on campus regarding Greek life, I believe Union administrators are doing the right thing by taking such a precaution. However, at the same time, this new policy has adverse effects on the social lives of freshmen. As a group, the freshmen hope that this policy will not become permanent.
Most of the freshmen lack the connections to get into Greek parties, and, as a consequence of this new social policy, we will never develop some of the connections that are available within the circle of Greek life. It’s my first year of college, and I want to get to know different people. This social policy makes this task increasingly difficult.
Because of this policy, the freshmen are now cut off from talking to upperclassmen, who are a valuable resource of information about Union, Schenectady, graduate school, Greek life, and many other things that pertain to our academic and social experience.
Even if a freshman has connections with a member of a fraternity or sorority and is admitted into a party, it is not wise for that freshman to go alone. This new social policy, which was created as a preventative measure, could backfire as it could place students in jeopardy by separating them from their friends.
If a freshman decides to brave a party alone and gets into a bad situation, who will be there to help them get home? Friends are the best protective measure you will ever have if something goes wrong in a social situation.
If this policy is made permanent, freshmen will become socially isolated. We have our own dining hall, our own dorms, and what will become our own parties, minimizing exposure to students outside of our class. Eventually, the freshmen class will not feel like a genuine part of Union.
Yes, this new policy is supposed to restrict freshmen access to alcohol and the dangerous situations associated with alcohol consumption. But exclusion from Greek life could lead to freshmen drinking solely amongst themselves, without the presence of upperclassmen who have the experience to help moderate such situations. This could pose an even greater threat.
College is not just about learning inside the classroom—it’s about learning outside of it too. Greek parties give us the opportunity and the freedom to socialize with others and to spend our weekends as adults. The experiences we gain by going to these parties help us to discover the things and behaviors we value in a college atmosphere. I hope that this social element of Union will stay with us.