Shippensburg University held its first session of the Brew Science Speaker Series on Feb. 28 with earth science and geography professor Alison Feeney.
As part of her research, Feeney has spent the last 10 years studying the social, technological and economic history of beer worldwide.
Although there is no questioning the legitimacy of brewing and brewing science as an academic discipline, the place of such on campus is questionable.
SU has a “dry campus” policy which prohibits all students, even those of legal age, from possessing or consuming alcohol on campus property.
Whether it was intentional or not, this policy conveys a message that alcohol is unacceptable in any circumstance, even those that are legal, and has no constructive role in social settings or communities.
However, choosing to conduct the Brew Science Series is contradicting the policy.
Feeney referenced the positive role that breweries have on local economies and communities. She explained that because local breweries are expanding and hiring, SU is trying to expand brewing education.
What is concerning is the direct contradiction between policy and practice on SU’s campus. How can it be that alcohol has such a negative effect on the well-being of our campus that it is banned entirely, but have a positive impact on society?
Furthermore, if a knowledge of the history and science of alcohol is something that can benefit students in the job market and the “real world” is attempting to isolate students from the substance really in their best interest?
The dry campus policy is unrealistic and a poor reflection of the “real world” for which the university is attempting to prepare students.
Not only does the dry campus policy deter students from living on campus past the years required by the university, but it prevents those upperclassman students who choose to stay on campus from developing a positive relationship with alcohol.
Rather than attempting to keep alcohol off the campus, the university should do more to show the benefits that healthy and responsible alcohol consumption can have on a community.
The Brew Science Speaker Series is fun and informational, but it can also help create a campus culture that acknowledges the benefits of positive alcohol consumption.
Keeping this in mind as the university looks to expand the series to more speakers and and courses can benefit students and the administration alike.