More than a bar, more than booze

I loved hanging out in the dorms.

The binge-drinking, the vomiting, the claustrophobic living space, the scattered pistachios crushed into carpets, the mountain of empty beer cans in the closet, and the reeking stench of stale, sour alcohol and drunk-piss.

I loved living the life of an educated stray dog, living in the filth and decay of the perverse concrete cage that was Adams Hall for two years of my life.

If you haven’t detected the sarcasm by now, I doubt you ever will.

But that was the case for my first two years of college. All of my nightly socializing was limited mostly to the dorms or some sleazy rat-infested dive that has either caved in on itself or been condemned since then. Every coming evening faced the horrible inevitably of ending up in the dorms, watching the same drunks fight over the fairness of the rocket launchers and tanks in Halo.

It was entertainment at its best – fine swine theater.

And here we are today, still debating whether or not an on-campus bar is in the best interest of the college. It’s been roughly three years since the idea was thrown into a realistic spectrum of possibility, and it has been kicked around and disrespected like Rodney Dangerfield in a Rugby match every day since its inception.

But why? Plenty of other colleges, including UVM, have similar on-campus hot spots that do more than just serve alcohol, but provide a great sense of that community and cultural togetherness that CSC so often claims to exhibit.

This is Vermont, one of the most progressive states in the country. Times they are a’changing, and an on-campus cafe/hangout/pub/whatever-the-hell-the-PC-term-for-it-is-these-days is commonplace at lots of schools.

So why can’t we have it? Why can’t we have a LEGITIMATE place to chill out at after a long day of dissecting Shakespeare or Poe? A place where we can watch the Big Game, with plenty of space, comfort, and artery-clogging foody goodness? Or chat casually with professors over a cold pint of ale or cup of coffee? Or watch the groovetastic Twiddle rip through “Carter Candlestick” with all the lights and sounds of an authentic club show?

Why are we still subjected to socializing in the dwellings of the dank dorms and dives of the area?

Because THEY say so – that’s why.

Nope, never mind the fact that professor Phil Lamy and Joe Zeitler (amongst others) have poured every ounce of their unwavering effort into creating a classy place – a Third Place, as they call it – where students, faculty, alums, locals, artists, residents, and commuters can come together and INITIATE CULTURE.

Forget that Castleton is one of the hottest colleges in New England right now, as record numbers of applicants are chomping at the bit for a chance to be part of the future.

Discount the notion of the overwhelming support received from the student body, faculty majority, and the PRESIDENT, as well as the fact that the proposed pub would be anything but another run-of-the-mill watering hole.


If you want to get loaded on forties and cheap whiskey, do that in your own place. OUR pub – and yes, I’m not afraid to call it what it is or plans to become – is for everyone who wants to get AWAY from the sleaze and slime of dorm bingeing and banging.

The SA needs to quit insulting our intelligence. You give the Third Place Committee 35K to play with – which they appreciate – and tell them to spend it on whatever they want: as long as it’s not spent on constructing a bar. Are you kidding me? That’s like an Oreo without the crŠme filling!

And another thing. This debate has been raging for three years: how in the love of Captain Kirk’s toupee does the SA not know what’s going on with it? “I dunno, ask VA,” they say. How are you guys acting in the best interest of the student body if you’re completely clueless to its needs?

We have an opportunity to set CSC further apart from the pack by trusting our student body enough to let them take responsibility for an on-campus social spot, which, in time, could serve as a central hub for our community’s cultural interaction.

But because a small minority of political dictators is allowed to play mother hen to the vast majority of students and community supporters, we are forced to sacrifice many of the freedoms and cultural values that we, as adults and students, rightfully deserve.

This could be something far greater than a bar, but until the student body stands up and demands the respect and responsibility that I know it deserves, then we’re all going to have to be happy hiding away in the binge-and-purge culture of the dorms and dives.

A culture of hammered hermits: what a fine culture that would be!

If all the SA sees is booze, then maybe they’re the ones who need the designated drivers, not us.

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