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Acknowledge the unhealthy drinking culture BSD promotes

By Paven Bal, April 4 2019 —

Bermuda Shorts Day is best known to students as the year-end celebration at the University of Calgary that caps off a long and gruelling semester. It’s the one time during the year when students come together for a wholesome campus experience. Drinkers and non-drinkers alike can attend BSD to be part of the school community. Walk into BSD and you’ll see groups of students dancing, drinking and having fun. Of course, it’s great to be able to blow off some steam. We all deserve it.

But there’s a problem. BSD promotes an unhealthy drinking culture among students. It’s not intentional, but it is happening.

Generally, students pre-game before the actual event. While BSD starts at noon, people start drinking well before then. The official event wraps up around 6 p.m. For some, the party doesn’t end there.

Many people go to BSD after-parties or out to clubs — and understandably so. No one wants to stop partying at a time when the party usually begins.

Of course, not all students engage in this kind of behaviour, as many know and can stay within their limits and keep control. But some students drink all day and use BSD as an excuse to get belligerently drunk.

During BSD, some students drink until they pass out. I remember walking into BSD one year and seeing a paramedic attending to a student laying on the ground. This was only about two hours into the event. Letting loose shouldn’t have to involve excessive drinking and massive hangovers. Plus, there are the occasional fights that break out between those that have had one too many.

The beer gardens are an important part of BSD. Without them, the festivities wouldn’t be the same. But it just shouldn’t be the only thing that matters. Perhaps if BSD started later during the day or had more activities, it could live up to its potential. It would be fun for both drinkers and non-drinkers.

Those of us who don’t drink don’t mind attending BSD, but the fun only lasts about an hour or two before you get sick of it. Watching people get flat-out drunk gets boring. Though BSD shouldn’t have to give up its most important aspect — the beer gardens — it should be more engaging for those that don’t drink.

Many have accordingly stopped attending BSD because it’s gotten boring. It’s the same thing every year. There isn’t much else for non-drinkers to do except watch people get drunk, listen to not-so-great music and then go home.

Maybe this year will be different. This year, the event is being held in MacHall. It’ll have karaoke and a photo booth. With these changes, maybe there will be a step away from the unhealthy drinking culture that’s been brewing.

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