Fogel’s Vision: Is It Really What We Want?

In a nationwide study done by the Harvard School of Medicine, it was found that the national average of binge drinking on college campuses is 48%. At UVM it is 67%.

Maybe it’s the cold, maybe it’s a work-hard-play-harder attitude that we have as students here, but no matter how you look at it, two-thirds of us drink and we drink more than the average college campus.

The Robert Wood Johnson fund holds panel discussions with different groups of students to find out why they think so many people drink heavily at UVM. Obviously they went to see the Greeks, because here at UVM it is widely understood that Greeks drink. But Greek life only make up 8% of the UVM population, so if you figure that all Greeks drink, which is not true considering Phi Delta Gamma is dry and many Greeks choose not to drink, that means that 56% of the student population at UVM drinks heavily. That is still 8% more than the national average, and with enrollment at about 8,000 students that means that at UVM there are 640 more students who drink heavily, than the average college campus. If anything, the Greeks are the safest drinkers among the student population. All Greeks are expected to attend safe-drinking seminars, but the general student body is not. The Greeks not only attend safe drinking seminars but they are also expected to attend neighbor relations seminars, fire safety seminars as well as anti-hazing seminars.

If you refer to UVM history the Hockey team is the most recent violator of the anti-hazing rules, but the sports teams aren’t expected to attend the anti-hazing workshops, and the other 56% of the students who make up our drinking population are not expected to go to any of the safe drinking seminars. All eyes are always focused on the Greeks, waiting for them to mess up, but they are constantly giving back to the campus in unseen ways and are represented everywhere. Three out of the four past SGA Presidents were Greek, including the current President and Vice President. There are Greeks in the Student Senate; there are Greeks in the Ski and Snowboard Club. There are Greek tour guides and RA’s. A Greek is the President of the Boulder Society, a Greek is on the Council for Unity and there is a Greek on UVM rescue. There are even Greeks who write for the Cynic. So there it is: Greeks give so much to campus and campus gives nothing back. When fraternities and sororities need help from the school, they are pushed back to where they came from. When I went to talk to President Fogel about an issue my fraternity was having, I didn’t get in the door. I was sent around campus on a wild goose chase that ended in me giving up due to frustration. It seems as though our generation is getting screwed. There is a vision for the future of this university and we are not a part of it. When the class of 2008 graduates most of the construction should be just finishing. Enrollment will not reach Fogel’s projected increase for another 10 years. The distinguished faculties that are supposed to be coming in won’t be here until enrollment is increased, so we won’t have the privilege of having many of them.

So I ask what is being done for us? We have been forgotten in the vision for the future. There is so little being done for the students who are here now academically and socially. But Fogel still expects us to set examples for the future of UVM. In an email sent to all of the UVM students, President Fogel asked us not to smoke marijuana on 4/20 because the university has been trying to “stamp out the practice” for the past four years. He believes that it “greatly detracts from the overall image of the institution within the state and beyond.” He says himself that the 4/20 celebration has raised concern among the donors, meaning that they will be worried about donating the $70 million that it is going to take to build the new student union to a school full of burnt out hippies.

But the student union isn’t going to be open in our time, it is going to be open in time so that freshman in High School now will be able to enjoy it for their whole UVM experience. So why should we help him? Time wasn’t given to a fraternity that needed help. Money is being taken away from the UVM sailing team, as well as the gymnastics program. If the administration wants UVM to have a bright future, they should focus more on the needs of the students now, because as Fogel said “we should examine the role we play in shaping your university’s reputation.” And judging by how much the university values our contributions to campus, our role doesn’t seem very large.