Wednesday, November 7, 2007
I walked down to the UA last Saturday morning with my son. I guess I forgot what Homecoming was like when I was a student. In my mind, I thought about Wilma and Wilbur, and I thought my son may get to say hello to the mascots.
At the end of Mountain Avenue, we got through a little crowd at the Student Union entrance, then moved onto the Mall. I remember the fraternities and sororities always being a big part of campus, but I don't recall Homecoming being a Greek-exclusive get-together. The majority of the tents that framed the Mall were from every house. Was it really this way all along? Had I learned to ignore Greek life as much as possible in my version of the old days?
So the Greeks were out, heavily out, taking a majority of the Mall space reserved for alumni groups. Some even had their own house DJs literally spinning records: little college boys at turntables pumping out rap as Greek alums from the '70s strolled in for hamburgers and salad.
I'm not a fan of the Greek system, who cares? But what interested me during our stroll were the beer booths and the sale of beer in the midst of the Homecoming frat party, taking place in the middle of campus.
Isn't the UA a dry campus? Aren't there a few houses struggling because of the crackdown on liquor at the fraternities and sororities that are on campus? What an interesting position for the UA to put itself in--enforcing liquor policies on campus by declaring itself dry, but pouring out the beer smack in the middle of the university in the name of Homecoming.
I guess the state Department of Liquor Licenses and Control didn't like it, either. More than 150 people were arrested on liquor-related violations that weekend. and the alumni association got itself in a bit of trouble. Then in Arizona Daily Wildcat, I got a bigger picture of changes that have occurred. Evidently last year, the beer was free and free flowing. This year, there was a two-drink maximum, and the hooch cost money. (ED NOTE: Thanks for the correction, IPH.)
Students and alumni complained bitterly about the change. Complained? I like beer, but between the liquor violations and the dry campus proclamation by UA administration, I wonder if hypocrisy is the latest in academic offerings. I know, I know. Get those alums drunk, and soon, those checkbooks come out. Bring in the Greek tents with those crazy kids playing their crazy music, and everyone is ready to do the nostalgia kick-back.
Interesting how the Hispanic and Black alumni tents were off to the side. They were packed despite not being the center of the party.
Next year, what will happen to the new beer sales system? Who will get pissed about not being able to get pissed?
We didn't see Wilbur and Wilma, and walked home quietly, passing keg parties along the way.
Our Saturday morning was just a small reminder that my Homecoming ... a true Homecoming ... is better off spent on other weekend walks with my son through campus. .