Keeping it cool, keeping it quiet

Friday night in Burlington can be a raucously loud time. Instead of the occasional student walking from apartment to class, UVM students are hanging out by the dozens on sidewalks, in roads, on roofs of apartments and on lawns. Friday night is a time for students to emerge from their residence halls and forget about school work for a while.   With all of these students, as we all know, comes a substantial amount of noise and drunken frolicking. Even when they are not under the influence, a group of people tend to be loud. One person shouts over another and soon it is a shouting match that can be heard a block away. While the purposely malicious people are few and far between, our presence negatively impacts the surrounding neighborhoods. The story of the little girl waking up to find a college student peeing through her window comes to mind. You may say that these occurrences are rare, but how many happen and go unnoticed or unreported? In the “real” world, people don’t go to sleep at 3 a.m. every night. Some might think that neighborhood families are just complaining too much and that they should be able to put up with a little extra noise. Yet, with clusters of naturally loud students outside their windows, it must bring them back to their own days of paper-thin res hall walls and the annoying person next door who would not stop making noise until the break of dawn. Would you like to live like that forever? It’s fun for four years, but after that, a little peace and quiet starts to look appealing. While we are having fun and unwinding from a long week of school, we need to remember that not everyone in Burlington is a college student looking for a house party. It is important to realize that we share the community, not own it.  Our actions have an impact on our surroundings and it is our responsibility to make sure that impact is a positive one.   The Have a Heart Campaign is a good beginning. It is a wake-up call to receive a cute crayon drawing — like the ones that used to be on your refrigerator — that asks college students to please be quiet in their neighborhood. Even with this campaign, the problems won’t be completely solved. If we want to be able to keep the off-campus bus and to be true members of the Burlington community, students need to take action. It does not have to be much — just a “Hey you, pipe down!” as your friends walk downtown at 12 a.m. While UVM students should still be able to enjoy themselves on weekends, it shouldn’t be to the detriment of our community. So grab a heart-shaped chocolate and remember to chill out sometimes.