Iowa is not only our biggest competitor on the football field but also in the stands. As of this fall, Kinnick Stadium is selling beer and wine to fans during events, showing more leniency in their loose dry campus policy.
As of right now, UNL is one of six Big Ten universities that follows a dry campus policy. UNL has one of the stricter policies, in fact. However, it may be time for a change.
As of 2017, UNL’s alcohol policy states that alcohol consumption is prohibited to those under the age of 21, which is a given. It also states that there are three categories of events where the service of alcohol on the UNL campus may be allowed: private social events where attendees are not directly or indirectly charged for the alcohol served; events at which the attendees are not limited to a specific guest list or any event where attendees are charged, directly or indirectly, for the alcohol served and an academic course in which the consumption of alcohol is part of the learning curriculum. These policies require permits and do not allow for dorm parties or underage drinking in any way.
However, inclusion of these exceptions for alcohol use on campus leads me to believe that UNL is subtly gearing towards becoming a wet campus, or that they at least understand the impracticality of being a fully dry campus. Given the benefits of a wet campus, UNL should fully convert from being a dry to a wet campus.
For one, allowing those over the age of 21 to possess alcohol on campus could reduce crime. It is naive to believe that just because it’s a dry campus, no alcohol use ever occurs. When it does, it could potentially lead to unsafe situations in attempts to be “sneaky.”
A study showed that “dry campuses reported more liquor arrests than wet campuses — 19 versus 16 per 10,000 enrolled students.” This shows that enforcing a dry campus does not prevent students from drinking. I like to relate this to the Prohibition era in American history; even though alcohol was illegal, people still found a way to produce and consume it, often in unsafe fashions.
Of-age students may partake in unsafe ventures when they leave campus to drink, increasing the chances of them driving home drunk. Many older students live in on-campus housing, such as the Greek houses and several apartments. Allowing students 21 years of age or older to drink in their apartments can reduce the chances of them driving drunk in an attempt to curb the dry campus policy.
Selling alcohol at university concerts and events, such as sporting events, could be a money-maker at UNL. In fact, alcohol was served for the first time at the Garth Brooks concert at Memorial Stadium on Aug. 14.
As of 2019, many other universities have begun selling alcohol at their football games and other sporting events. Some of them saw great profits, while others actually lost money. Either way, UNL could take its chances and see how much they could profit.
A university that calls itself a wet campus may be signaling the wrong message to some. Some parents may not be comfortable sending their child to a university where alcohol is allowed and not strictly prohibited.
The stereotype of a wet campus is that its students party 24/7 and are rowdy and wild all the time. However, this is simply not true and is just that — a stereotype. Not everybody chooses to party or drink — it is completely up to the individual. For those who do, no matter what a college’s policies are, people will still find ways to drink, perhaps in unsafe ways.
Converting UNL from a dry campus to a wet campus has its drawbacks, but it could potentially be a fair money-maker, allow campus to become safer and level up to the playing field of its competitors.
Emerson McClure is a sophomore journalism and advertising & public relations major. Reach her at email@example.com.