I, like the classic newb most freshmen are, arrived at college with the mindset that alcohol is the gateway to making friends, to finally getting the nerve to hook up with your long time crush and to making lasting memories. “Moderation” is not in any college student’s vocabulary. When we consume alcohol, it’s by the bucket-ful.
But what if, like me, you show up to college and realize you actually hate alcohol? Or discover that drunk people are SUPER annoying? Well have no fear, because more and more colleges across the country are providing the same party atmosphere minus the alcohol (and the drunk girl spilling her drink on you).
After reflecting on the feeling of isolation he felt his freshman year due to the fact that he didn’t choose to guzzle beer like a fish, Boston College student Nicholas Moffa started to brainstorm—and boom, Links was born. Allison Shely, Boston College junior and member of the Links board, explains that the group is totally judgment free. “Even if you don’t feel like drinking THAT night, you’re still welcome. We don’t care what you did last weekend, we don’t care what you choose to do next weekend as long as you’re safe.” Many groups like Links have a similar party atmosphere—loud music, sweaty people dancing—the only thing missing is that vomit in the corner. Who knew YOLOing without the cheap vodka was even possible?
Georgetown Program Board
Made up of a group of students who provide fun and affordable entertainment to their peers, Georgetown Program Board plan activities for students including comedy shows, late night dance parties, free holiday cookies, and other awesome activities for students to take part in minus the alc. “Every April, right before finals begin, we host an animal farm on the lawn. Students love coming out to hold bunnies and take selfies with a llama,” said the Georgetown Program Board. Cuddling up to a bunny or a bottle of vodka on a weeknight? That’s a no brainer. And who doesn’t love a good llama selfie?
UMix Late Night
UMix Late Night hosts late night activities and events on Friday nights. According to the UMix website, “UMix provides opportunities for students to have fun, gain programming experience, develop leadership, and interact responsibly.” The events vary from recreational sports, to movies, dances and other social events. Kick some butt in dodgeball, kick back with your favorite movie or kick up your heels—and don’t wake up with a splitting headache.
It’s typical for students to come to college with the mindset that alcohol is the key to an awesome college career. Admittedly, alcohol does play a large role in the social scene at many universities–but it isn’t for everyone. “It’s important for kids to find a way to have fun and have friends but not have to put their health at risk to do it,” Shely said. “It’s also important to promote good habits of tolerance and self control and to learn how to socialize without alcohol.”
Sans-alcohol groups similar to the ones at Boston College, Georgetown, and the University of Michigan are on the rise. Not only are they giving students a place to feel welcome, but they are showing students that there are alternatives to drinking. The same party-like atmosphere minus the hangover is a win-win for everyone.