Keep the Kegs Flowing
Prohibiting beer at football games will only increase the rate of alcohol abuse
Drinking beer at football games has long been a collegiate tradition, one that can immensely improve the spectators’ experience. Alcohol has become so closely associated with the enjoyment of the game that a ban on kegs will not discourage undergraduates from drinking. Rather, if students cannot find refreshment at the tap, many will turn to hard liquor—a far more dangerous alternative. Handles of vodka and rum, disguised in conspicuous water bottles, will replace cups of beer among the binge drinkers, and University Health Services will see more sick students than ever. Hard liquor contains a much higher percentage of alcohol than beer and therefore causes students to get drunk faster, frequently before they realize the state of their inebriation. While beer may make students sick, hard alcohol can turn deadly.
Kegs create a social and fun atmosphere, and banning them will change the tailgating experience. The H-club has predicted that the keg ban will cause Harvard’s already pathetic student attendance at football games to drop even more. With this poorly-conceived policy, the administration threatens to ruin one of the remaining vestiges of undergraduate social life. While the administration may be blind to the plight of undergraduates seeking fun, perhaps they will react to the decreased alumni attendance and subsequent drop in giving that will result from the keg ban. In a year where the endowment is suffering losses, can the administration afford to make the alumni unhappy?
The keg ban will not reduce binge drinking because it does not address the root of the problem. It does not change the social mindset that leads students to drink heavily, nor does it teach students to drink responsibly. Students will drink—and possibly get drunk—if they want to, and the best thing the university can do is to minimize the dangers. If the administration wants to address the real problem of binge-drinking, they would be wise to implement programs that will make a difference. Instead of placing a ban on kegs, we encourage the implementation of a drinking awareness program addressed to first-years, who are often most susceptible to social pressure. A change in mindset, not a ban on kegs or alcohol, is necessary to eliminate the dangers of binge drinking without ruining our football games.