There has not been beer at Harris… yet. And if there is one thing college students notice, it is beer, or a lack thereof. What Grinnellians have failed to notice, though, is that Harris’ shortcomings are almost entirely in their own hands.
“No one is saying we need to cut beer at Harris, I think it’s just a matter of getting students to pull together and get on board so that there will be beer,” said Sivan Philo ’13, SGA Vice President for Student Affairs.
As Philo pointed out, the process of serving beer at Harris falls almost entirely to the student body. However, that is not to say it is easy. Philo made it clear that serving beer at Harris is not for the faint of heart, for no other reason than that it is quite the lengthy business.
“Beer is served at most Harris parties, the only trouble is that getting an alcohol contract requires a pretty large amount of work for what it’s worth,” Philo said.
In order to throw an all-campus party with beer, the party organizers must first secure two hosts, servers and wrist-banders. Then they must present their plans to the All Campus Events Committee (ACE) in order to get funding and assistance.
“Even after they complete the contract, it’s not over,” Philo said.
When it comes to the actual alcohol, the party organizers have to bear the cost, usually collecting money from dorms on campus.
If no one steps up to plan a Harris party, ACE takes charge of the project, and sometimes they just choose not to have beer.
“I think it’s a pretty overwhelming process from students who don’t know how to do it,” Philo said. “It would be easy to say that students are more and more apathetic as time goes by, but I think that there are a lot of different factors that go into how this process works. I think students are really stressed out.”
Beer has not ceased to be served at Harris because of new rules or too many hospitalizations.
Jen Jacobsen ’95, Wellness Coordinator and co-chair of the Harm Reduction Committee, said Harris parties are relatively harmless.
In fact, she said that the number of hospitalizations in the early fall are lower this year than last year, when 17 students were hospitalized.
“I think it’s an opportunity to model some responsible drinking… that you can be out and be of age and have one or two beers while you’re out dancing and it’s part of a good evening but not necessary to a good evening,” Jacobsen said. “I don’t have a sense of what Harris events are like with alcohol versus events that do not have alcohol.”
“The Harm Reduction Committee hardly ever needs to check or regulate Harris,” she said.
However, even if the committee did, it would be a student-influenced decision. “An important thing about that committee is it’s open for anyone to go to,” Jacobsen said. “It meets every Thursday at noon at JRC 227, if anyone wants to come at any time. And that’s one of the committees on campus that upholds the belief that every committee should comprise of [at least] half students.”
Philo emphasized that the regulations about beer at Harris remain the same.
“As far as I can recall, I don’t think they’ve ever stepped in to say this isn’t okay, or this isn’t happening,” Philo said. “I think it’s not as though the administration isn’t aware of these things, but they will not change anything without student opinion being heard first.”
Chloe Griffen ’14, All Campus Events Coordinator, agreed.
“Honestly it’s totally up to the party organizers. If nobody wants to organize it then it’s up to me and ACE, and if ACE doesn’t want to do it, then it’s up to me. ‘Cause there’s going to be a Harris,” Griffen said.
For those students who think Harris is not the same without their beloved beverage, KDIC is putting up 80’s Harris on Saturday…and they intend to have beer.