‘Groovy UV’: embracing a spirited tradition

 Today marks a sort of “unofficial” holiday at UVM: 4/20. Hundreds of students will fill the Redstone Green and celebrate weed culture.

The event is definitely a part of the culture here on campus, a place many refer to as “Groovy UV.”

Whether or not you choose to take part in the festivities, they are hard to ignore, and walking anywhere within the vicinity of Redstone Campus will provide you with an ever-so-familiar smell and the sight of a cloud of smoke that cannot be ignored. 

[media-credit name=”ALYSSA HANDELMAN” align=”alignnone” width=”300″]420editorial[/media-credit]

In the past, the annual unplanned event has caused relatively low amounts of disturbance and chaos to the campus community. In 2004, three students were detained and arrested by police. Two of the students eventually received a cash settlement from UVM on the basis the University violated their free speech rights, according to an April 18, 2013 Cynic article.

It is safe to say the annual “smoke-in” attended by a large number of UVM students is relatively harmless to campus safety in general. However, as noted by Jon Porter, director of the Center for Health and Wellbeing, although regular use of marijuana isn’t “noisy,” it carries with it a set of issues including increased risk for anxiety and depression.

That being said, it is true: the 4/20 gathering held annually at our University is a part of our culture, and, if executed safely and responsibly, should not be of large concern.

With the legalization of marijuana moving through the Vermont House and to the Senate, it is clear “weed culture” is not only part of UVM, but part of Vermont as a whole.

There is a distinction between this isolated event and the larger issue of drug use on campus. Not everyone who attends the gathering on 420 smokes regularly, deals drugs or even “lights up.”

As a campus community, we have the privilege to be protected on 420 and everyday by both UVM and Burlington police. Keeping this in mind, if everyone acts responsibly, this annual event will do nothing more than keep the “groovy” in “UV.”