Matthew Henry Smith ’16
Whether Providence College does or doesn’t indirectly market itself as a place to come and get drunk is up to anyone’s discretion. But with the event “Bring Back the Date” coming up, (a sweet, albeit a heteronormative, attempt to set this campus straight) it’s time for Friartown to take a serious look at how policies on this campus are perpetuating all of practices the administration claims to abhor. Here are ten things PC can do to make it the place it claims to / would like to be.
1. Bring back hard alcohol to campus.
Drinking at any age occurs at any college. But why is it that the school that has banned hard alcohol consumption on campus consumes more than any of its peers nationwide? This trend only substantiates on a smaller scale what everyone already knows: the greater the taboo, the greater the abuse. Additionally, when an administration chooses to believe that their students don’t use booze, that is when students leave campus in droves, become intoxicated in an unfamiliar city and walk back into the arms of welcoming arms of muggers.
2. Make all dorms co-ed by floor.
Boys would behave better. And probably shower more.
3. Eliminate parietals.
Nothing promotes healthy sexual culture like a campus that assumes all of their students have chosen chastity (not that there’s an issue with abstinence) and that mandates boys and girls need to vacate spaces of cohabitation at certain arbitrary hours. Studies have shown that, regardless of whether or not students are taught abstinence or safe-sex, they begin having intercourse at the same average age. Parietals do not discourage sex, they promote hook up culture (which is not as yet Vatican approved).
4. Safe-space trainings at Orientation (or at least as a graduation requirement).
Providence College is a safe space…. For socially ignorant young people people to become ignorant graduates. As it stands, our campus is a somatic utopia for the wealthy cisgender heternormative Christian to not have to learn about the beautiful diversity of God’s holy creation in other human beings. For as long as we don’t educate our student on the gender/sex spectrum, the fluidity of both and the truths about non-typical identities and the struggles people face, we are fostering adversity and prejudice, and creating a false illusion of the world outside of Providence College.
5. Allow Student Congress to do its job.
When Congress, say, passes legislation to say that we don’t have the right here to discriminate based on sexual orientation, don’t veto it and say, “Just because it isn’t included in our antidiscrimination clause doesn’t mean we don’t uphold the dignity of all persons.” Give equality some teeth, or admit that your “love for the dignity of all persons” is a lukewarm love at best.
6. Create legitimate weekend programming.
Bringing back the date is only as necessary as the school has made it by indirectly and apathetically determining that the only socially acceptable weekend activity is to get your money’s worth out of your fake ID. Informal dances should be more routine. Turn the Smith Arts Center into a Double-Feature Movie Mecca for people to go on Friday and Saturday nights.
7. Require Public and Community Service Courses.
If you want the greatest microcosm for the scourge of poverty and abuse in the world, look no further. The city of Providence is a wondrous but impoverished place. The Providence students most often see, however, is an exclusively Federal-Hill-and-Capitol-Grill-Filled-Thayer-Street-rumpus of indulgence. While natives like me are grateful that the disposable incomes of most Friartown families are stimulating the local economy, we must remember that our poor are the world’s poor, and their problems are universal. We should be exposing our students to the reality of poverty and incentivizing student participation in God’s active love of the poor. Think what a culturally aware place Providence College might become.
8. Endorse Diversity instead of simply “respecting” it.
I’m not going to explain this one.
9. Stop enabling student entitlement.
And this happens in part when you…
10. Decrease cost.
First of all, 56k is an arbitrary number that materialized from the ether of parochial competition. But with students (or mom and dad) paying for this there comes a certain demand of product satisfaction. $50,000 a year entitles us to an education. That’s it. It does not entitle us to lord over those who keep this campus running or those who live just outside our gates. Providence College should make the altruistic first step towards a frills armistice in higher education. We are contributing to the disorder of designating education as an exclusive luxury, when we should be the most aware that Jesus taught for free.