Every college student counts down the days to their 21st birthday. Finally, reaching this special day gives them the ability to do certain activities they were dying to check off their to-do list. Those certain activities include: having that free access to go to that fun club for young adults, hearing their parents tell them they can stay out past midnight, and most importantly, purchasing an alcoholic beverage. Walking out of the store with that first alcoholic purchase is like a gateway to adulthood, but how can college students enjoy this great privilege if they are still treated like high schoolers?
Piedmont College only allows private consumption of alcoholic beverages for students who are 21 and live in the Village. This rule is reasonable, but some students are 21 and live in other dorms. Students need to have a certain amount of credit hours and have three other suitemates to live in the Village. Students can have the right amount of credit hours but don’t have three other suitemates. These students are not able to enjoy their special privilege of being young adults. Additionally, Piedmont also doesn’t allow the possession of alcohol paraphernalia unless approved by a Residential Living Professional staff member. Prohibited alcohol paraphernalia includes alcohol-related clothing, alcohol-related decor, pong tables, alcohol bottles and anything else that falls under the realm of this list.
“It is designed to keep students safe of all ages, regardless of 21 years of age or not,” said Mark Jestel, Director of Residential Education. “When you wear alcohol you give off the impression that you drink, and regardless of age, we don’t want students to get hurt or think it’s okay at any given point.”
It’s understandable that Piedmont College wants the campus to be a safe environment, but some students feel that not allowing certain clothing because it might give the impression of drinking alcohol is not fair..
“I’m a big NASCAR fan and I would love to be able to support my favorite racers by wearing my NASCAR shirt, not to endorse alcohol but because I would love to endorse my favorite drivers who win,” said Brett Loftis, sophomore sports communications major. “I think it is infringing on my rights.”
These restrictions seem to be at the core of what gets students frustrated about their Piedmont experience.
“Res Life made me take down my American flag that had the Bud Light armor guy on it,” said Andrew Bennet, freshman psychology major. “I saw the flag advertised during the Super Bowl one year and I really liked it, so I bought it. It wasn’t supposed to give off any impression of drinking. Unless my roommates had an issue with it, I believe I should’ve been able to keep it up.”
Because alcohol brands frequently sponsor events, the policy prohibits students from wearing or displaying images that have little to do with alcohol. According to “Alcohol Sponsorships and Athlete Endorsements in Sports,” Dwayne Wade, who has had a phenomenal career in the NBA, partnered with Budweiser and helped promote the new Budweiser Zero drink. The article states, “Designed with athletes in mind, the living Miami Heat legend has further utilized the new product as a platform to champion social justice.” By no means does this mean that Wade is endorsing that he drinks alcohol, but being a world-known celebrity, he wanted to help the company so that a face with a brand is what consumers see.
“Piedmont needs to come up with a better alternative to allow students to be able to support their favorite icons in the sports world,” said Andrew Bennett.