Kegs Please

by Tom Mandel '11 | 10/5/09 10:00pm

Whenever I read a party blitz that has the word "kegs" in it, I am always less excited to go to that party than I was before. Or, when the Jack-O-Lantern blitzes out about how Keggy the Keg was stolen, I can't help but not care as much as I should. If somebody stole a Canny the Can mascot, though, then I might actually get angry. This is because, as current alcohol policy stands, kegs are so much of a pain to register and use that the Keystone can has become the symbol of alcohol on campus.

I know that I'm beating a dead horse. But there's all this debate following acting Dean of the College Sylvia Spears' announcement that a new committee will further review the Social Event Management Procedures, and really, we could solve half of the whole problem by fixing the keg policy. Dartmouth students are simple drinkers with simple tastes, and only want to be able to enjoy beer at low prices and at a pace that they choose. There are so many arguments for liberating kegs that I hardly have the space to list them.

There's the binge drinking argument: although kegs are the symbol of binge drinking, anybody who has ever tried to shotgun a keg before can attest that cans are a much faster way to consume alcohol. Giving us back the kegs, regardless of how many kegs are tapped at one time, would slow the rate of drinking.

The environment would benefit from the change, as well. Having cleaned my fraternity's basement many times, I can attest to the massive waste that is created by using cans. Even if a Greek house were to get proactive and recycle, kegs are still better they are reusable.

Money factors into this debate as well. I think that the powers that be would be happier if Greek houses chose to have more non-alcoholic events at their houses. As convoluted as the logic is, giving us keg freedom would accomplish this goal. Fraternities and sororities wouldn't have to spend as much money on beer to achieve the same amount of drinking, and could then use the extra money to host other events.

Last, but certainly not least, consider the ability of a better keg policy to reduce studentadministration antagonism. The system we have now encourages a game of cat-and-mouse. Greek houses flagrantly and regularly break senseless rules, and Safety and Security spends time and resources trying to catch them. Then Greek houses go on probation, and the administration look like the bad guys. Nobody wins, and a lot of negative feelings are spread around. Now, instead of cooperating with Safety and Security when they come to a house, members rush to hide all the unregistered kegs, only to go back to using them once Safety and Security leaves. The bottom line is that, at the end of the day, we still use kegs no matter what Safety and Security does. Sometimes we get caught, sometimes we don't but either way, we keep pumping.

I understand the need for a comprehensive alcohol policy, and I fully support a heavily researched alternative to the current system. I don't even care what acronym we use. But before we go on to address the miles of red tape and the differences between Greek houses and non-Greek organizations, between beer and hard alcohol, and between registering on the fly and planned parties, can't we just fix the one issue that everyone actually cares about? And no, I'm not talking about alternative social spaces. I'm talking the emancipation of big barrels of beer. As opposed to rewriting the entire alcohol policy which, understandably, would take months or even years a quick fix on the keg policy could be enacted in a matter of weeks.

And so, Dean Spears, please give us what we want, and everyone will win. The gift-giving season is around the corner, and if you start planning now, you can give us the best gift we've ever gotten by the time Chrismukkah rolls around. And then, when I get a blitz about a party with kegs, I'll be excited. And when the Jack-O blitzes out the next time Keggy gets stolen, I'll shed a tear, because it actually means something.