Without a community, college fun is illusory at best

On an early summer night just a few months back, a group of friends and I piled in my car and headed down to Mill Avenue. Our intention? To offer rides to any incapacitated individual we might find, despite the fact that the car was filled to capacity.

I was clad in a green, miniature golfer-adorned onesie as we set out in search of adventure. Little did I expect to be recognized by a classmate in an LSAT prep class I was taking at the time. I think she was more surprised by the onesie than the offer of a ride home.

So why do I tell this story, you may ask? In a word, community.

In college, students crave to be a part of a community — something bigger than themselves.

Many college students join fraternities and sororities or other clubs, in search of an environment where they can make an impact and establish a sort of “second family,” in a sense.

Recently, however, incidents at some of the University’s Greek organizations and others across the nation have landed individuals and the groups they represent in hot water.

For Greek life as a whole, this only furthers the perception that fraternities and sororities are hotbeds for drunkenness, compromising behavior and sexual impropriety.

I don’t want to condemn the Greek community outright, as such behavior is not limited to those institutions, but the events at our university and others like it illustrate an unfortunate reality.

When young individuals leave the comfort of home life, they look for something onto which they can latch. Free from parental supervision or any kind of accountability system, many jump at the chance to engage in the lifestyle of drinking and carousing.

A report by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that nearly half of college students report binge drinking within the last two weeks.

I’ve been known to enjoy a few brews on the occasion, but what purpose does this kind of behavior serve? Camaraderie and good times are all things that I believe are paramount for a college student to enjoy. Is getting drunk to the point where one loses their innards or has no recollection of the previous night’s events necessary to achieve the beneficial elements of college life?

Over the course of my college years, belonging to the ASU branch of St. Paul’s Outreach has provided me with a group of men and women who care about my long-term, not just short-term, happiness and know how to have a good time.

The college years are the most formative in a person’s life. Without a good community, the formation can often be negative. By seeking out individuals who desire your true happiness, however, this needn’t be the case.

Reach the columnist at mrrich2@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @cshmneyrichard

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