The beginning of the end of frosh week -

The beginning of the end of frosh week

The tragic death of a Queen’s student has renewed calls for a crackdown that is already well under way


Photograph Andrew Tolson/ Pawel Dwulit/CP Images

Natasha Zapanta, a cheery first-year Queen’s University business student in a perfectly manicured first-week outfit, won’t be telling her grandchildren about any Old School-worthy hijinks. Frosh week for this 17-year-old involved scavenger hunts, a video dance party and “Commerce Cares”—random acts of kindness visited upon unsuspecting fellow students by commerce freshmen. “There was nighttime partying,” she admits, “but we just stayed in the residence hall.” Most of her friends are also 17, below Ontario’s legal drinking age and, while alcohol is readily available, they’ve been warned not to indulge.

For biochemistry major Connor Forbes, the week was so low-key it threatened to dampen that famous Queen’s school spirit altogether. The gloom extended even to the engineering faculty, where students were this year banned from the school’s ancient move-in day tradition, in which engineers paint themselves purple and taunt incoming freshmen. Engineering society president Victoria Pleavin, citing complaints, sent an email to all engineering students warning them that anyone caught engaged in the practice would be escorted off campus. “Move-in day was really an introduction to the fun of the school and gave you a sense of community,” says Forbes. “The event is gone and we don’t know if it’s coming back. They took it away.”

Such moves followed a raft of measures taken by Queen’s administrators aimed at taming the furor surrounding frosh week—and, it seems, everything else too. Last year, the university cancelled its infamously out-of-control homecoming event, which newspapers have become fond of noting cost over $200,000 to police. Queen’s also vowed to curb freshmen excesses by stamping out the likes of “Slosh the Frosh” and “Sauce the Boss” because, according to senate meeting minutes last year, they “put students at risk.” The clampdown is, depending on your politics, already a success. Says John Pierce, interim associate VP and dean of student affairs: “By last Thursday, I was getting reports that, ‘Well—jeez!—frosh is going better than it has before!’ ”

And yet even these stringent measures could not prevent tragedy. Last Monday, Queen’s students on their way to rugby practice discovered the body of Cameron Bruce, an 18-year-old freshman from Connecticut, on the lawn outside his residence, just hours before he was to start classes. The night before, Bruce had attended an engineering banquet—a sort of last hurrah to end engineering frosh week. After dinner, he walked back to residence with friends. What happened next is still shrouded in mystery: police suspect no foul play, and they’re investigating whether alcohol played a role in the incident.

News of the death brought the inevitable newspaper editorial: “Be it the mass drunkenness of Aberdeen Street or young people getting a dubious initiation to booze in peer-pressure-filled orientation activities,” wrote the Kingston Whig-Standard, “the greater community has long quietly wondered: what will it take for Queen’s to do something about this? Does someone have to die?” The incident’s significance was not lost on students: “I think it’s the beginning of the end of frosh week,” one told Maclean’s.

No, actually. It’s the end of frosh, full stop—not just at Queen’s, but everywhere. A generation of children raised in an era so risk-averse that schools ripped seesaws, parallel bars and fireman’s poles from playgrounds has come of age and gone to university. The halcyon days, when freshers set cars and couches ablaze and guzzled beer at university-sanctioned keggers, now grow dim and will soon become distant memories. Many schools have retired the word “frosh” altogether, preferring less festive words like “orientation”; at the University of Ottawa, freshmen are referred to by the tin-eared sobriquet of “101er.” Official first-week events are now mounted sans booze. A handful of U.S. colleges are entirely dry. The University of Guelph this year, for the first time, made residences alcohol-free zones during frosh week. It’s a revolution some students call a “war on fun.”

In Ontario the trend goes back to 2003, when the province eliminated Grade 13, sending thousands of underage students into first year. The echoes resound still. Just this year, at Ottawa’s Carleton University, administrators wrestled control of frosh from the students’ union and hired a planner from the U.S. who shifted the week’s focus away from socializing toward workshops promoting study and life skills. “If you look at it from a risk-management perspective, the university just feels way more comfortable having professional staff,” director of student affairs Ryan Flannagan told Maclean’s. Alumni “wouldn’t even recognize it” as frosh, he says. “Alcohol used to be the main feature of evening activities. Now it’s interesting to watch how serious our student leaders take the issue—there just really is zero tolerance for having alcohol as part of the activities.”

At the University of British Columbia, the RCMP have started rationing the special occasion licences they grant on a campus that’s increasingly residential, transforming what was once a paradise of autumn beer gardens into just another condo development. “These events used to be a mainstay because UBC is so isolated from the rest of Vancouver,” says Justin McElroy, coordinating editor at the Ubyssey student newspaper. More and more students are drifting off campus and into the city—often en masse, “which causes its own problems,” says McElroy, who complains there’s “less and less campus culture” as a result.

The measures have also stoked the popularity of old-fashioned frat parties. “Frats say so many people are coming to the events because there aren’t a lot of places to be social on campus,” McElroy explains. “When you have 12,000 students living on campus, they are going to look for something to do on Friday and Saturday night.”

A similar exodus in Guelph, Ont., has caused local police to target student revellers in that city’s downtown. Project Frosh, as it’s dubbed, last year saw police hand out 64 bylaw and 147 Liquor Licence Act charges in the first five weeks of classes. “People are urinating, defecating, spitting,” says Sgt. Douglas Pflug, who 25 years ago was himself a University of Guelph student. “We didn’t go downtown—there were a lot of bars on campus,” he says. After last call these days, at the historic Wyndham and MacDonell intersection, a drinking hotspot, as many as 3,000 youths can find themselves coralled by police barricades designed to manage the mob. Fights break out, attracting audiences Pflug says are now primed by the popularity of ultimate fighting. “You put enough macho guys with enough girls watching, they’re going to want to fight,” says Brandon Skarpa, 20, a third-year criminal-justice major who has videotaped the brawls, posting them online.

At Dalhousie University there’s now a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drinking games in residences.

For several years the university has put $30,000 into hiring police to patrol campus during frosh, and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during terms. Bonnie Neuman, VP of student services, says administrators have been debating about whether to put underage students together in residences and away from those who are of age—a sort of ghetto of deprivation.

The irony is these measures follow a period in which studies show young people are already drinking less—and more responsibly—than in previous decades. Elizabeth Saewyc, a nursing prof at UBC whose work as research director with the McCreary Centre Society focuses on youth, says fewer B.C. teens are now experimenting with alcohol, likely thanks to better education and more effective policies in high school. “If you’re going to get kicked off the sports team for drinking, that’s a clear motivator,” says Saewyc, who believes the rest of Canada is more or less in line with the B.C. trend.

She has heard anecdotally that delayed drinking among teens has meant “some of the behaviours you used to see in high school are now happening in university. I don’t know of a single university that doesn’t feel alcohol use, especially with incoming freshmen, isn’t a problem.” Still, the most recent numbers available suggest a happier picture. Louis Gliksman, acting chief of research at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, says that when it comes to drinking, “for most students, it’s not a real problem.” He estimates based on 2004 data that alcohol becomes an issue—defined as binge drinking at least once a week—for 15 per cent of students in Canada. Research since suggests changes in university policy have caused those numbers to decline even further.

That’s still a good portion. But is it enough to rip the seesaws out? Perhaps not even a freak accident like Cameron Bruce’s death ought to be. Nevertheless, that’s just what some at Queen’s fear will happen there.

“What the administration needs to do is look at the root cause of the death and try to figure out if regulating frosh could prevent similar incidents,” says Connor Forbes, the Queen’s biochemistry major. “I’m worried they will continue to clamp down blindly just because it’s the easiest reaction.”


The beginning of the end of frosh week

  1. "…People are urinating, defecating, spitting,” says Sgt. Douglas Pflug…"

    Okay, I get why the urinating and defecating thing might be problematic, but spitting?

    What about the littering? My god, won't anyone do anything about the littering????

  2. Are you serious Phil King? Spitting is just as disgusting as urinating and defecating. What's inside of your body should stay there until it can be disposed of properly… like in a toilet or kleenex (in the case of spitting) not on the streets where people and pets could walk through it. How do you think illnesses get around?
    As for littering, of course people should clean up after themselves… in all ways. Maybe if we spent more time raising our children to be respecful of their environment (the people and the places) and responsible for their actions we wouldn't have any (or at least a lot fewer) of these problems.

  3. I think a major part of the shift has to do with more and more students switching to pot. The underagers can get it easily (the dealer doesn't ID) and with vaporizers, there is no smell, so no way to catch you. (Or you can just make brownies.)

    Check this out:

    • 1. if you make brownies, the entire place will reek of marijuana (and that's going to get someone in residence (i.e. most first year students) in a lot of trouble. 2.studies actually show a decrease in marijuana use among university students.

      • 1. I've made cannabutter so many times and you instantly kill the smell by putting the lid on the butter pot.
        2. So many people in university smoke weed it isn't even funny. Including the profs. Just because there's a decrease in reported marijuana use doesn't mean less people are smoking. It means they're too high to do the survey.

    • That would not be what I see with my own university student and his peers. Alcohol seems to be the most prevalent, least expensive, and most easily accessible option for students.

  4. You know who else abstained? Judas.

    • JFK also abstained

      • And look where it got him.

  5. It's called punish the many because of the few.

    I have two sons. One in second year at Laurier, the other first year at Waterloo. The first one had a fun Frosh week, the second one a boring one.

    It seems that the fight against self responsibility is quite strong and has followed them since elementary school.

    How will they grow up to be mature adults when they haven't been trusted to show self responsibility. When it has been imposed on them.

    Just a final thought:

    "If you are not open to make mistakes, you are not open to learn new things"

    • Sometimes those "mistakes" get them or others killed. Then they or their parents sue the university or whomever to compensate them for their loss.

      • these kids have been coddled and protected since birth. if they are not allowed to make mistakes in UNIVERSITY then when? when they have houses, mortgages, families and careers? when are they supposed to learn?

        • They should be able to make their own age-appropriate mistakes *from toddlerhood*, not beginning at university!!! It seems ridiculous to control kids and make all of their choices for them, do everything for them (laundry, cook, clean, etc) up until they leave home and then set them loose and expect them to cope. Kids need to learn that they are capable and strong by learning to take care of themselves, and this includes making choices and mistakes. Hopefully if kids are raised this way, they'll be making wiser choices in young adulthood…

    • I agree. These kids have been coddled since they were born, is it any wonder they may react inappropriately when given any adult responsibilities. You have to be allowed to make mistakes if you are ever going to learn anything. We had lots of drinking and craziness during Frosh Week and in residence afterwards when I was in school, yet somehow I managed to not only survive, but actually get an education and then a real job!!!

  6. University should be a booze 'n drug free zone. Students are there to learn, not to barf 'n fly. ZERO TOLERANCE.

    • We pay for it! SO we will do what we like, how about that.

    • Give me a break – university is to learn, but also to have fun and learn to spread your adult wings, mistakes and all.

    • University is about learning, but not just in the classroom. Students need to make their own mistakes and learn from them.

    • Dearest treborsia,
      I'm interested…did you ever go to a university? Do you yourself indulge in a drink now and again?
      And more importantly, whether you did attend a post-highschool institution or not, whether you are a tea-totaler or not aside, who are YOU to dictate WHAT students are there to learn?
      Your call for "ZERO TOLERANCE" seems both short-sighted and narrow-minded to me. Not all students who drink are there to "barf 'n fly"…to even imply that is simply ridiculous. (continued next post)

    • (continued from last post)
      Isn't it long past time for molly-coddle-ing these "kids" by the time they reach college or university? The fact that they have already been de-sensitized to everything around them throughout public school and high school by folks like you who would insulate and isolate "learning" from anything to do with the potential nastiness of the real world…
      It's time to LET THEM GROW…and learn. Not to continue to force "sanitized" conditions upon them — that's not what will face them when they enter the work force, pay taxes, and eventually even have to respond to innane comments such as yours.
      So, who ARE YOU to create "zones" of ANY description, anyway?

  7. I sent my 17 year old to university with a case of beer. I guess I am a bad parent.

    • Not bad, just stupid!

  8. As a Queen's grad, I find it sad to see the university lose so much of its heritage and tradition because of a few people making stupid choices. (And this is not to suggest the student who died is one of them.)

    What's outrageous to me is the Kingston Whig-Standard's constant anti-Queen's and anti-student bias. Kingston is a small city that completely relies on government and student spending to support its residents. The disregard they have toward the university is appalling.

    • Propwash Jason. Queen's has lost it's "heritage and tradition" under their own authorship. Were you at the university when they possessed a European castle? Ask them what they did with it? The eggheads at Queen's are finally waking up and seeing how the behaviour of their students is being viewed by the real world.

      "A city of over 100 thousand inhabitants is not "small" and Kingston is not completely beholden to a student population for their existence…yours is an oversimplification.

      I've never been or will never be a standard bearer for the Whig, however what they've printed is largely accurate.

      • The Whig has always had an anti-Queen's bias, because it sells papers. They might publish all sorts of accurate quotes from people who are also anti-Queen's, but that doesn't make that bias any more legitimate.

        When they published the photo of the high school student standing on top of the infamous Taurus that was flipped over, and claimed that it was a Queen's student, permanently damaging the university's reputation, what part of that was accurate? I'm not condoning the behaviour of Queen's students on that evening, but I will say that they often allow their bias to cloud their reporting.

        • The "accurate quotes" are consistent with the anti-social antics over the past 20 years including reaction from those who were with the AMS. Callers to local open line radio programs in the late '70s mirrored those who've complained about Aberdeen. You're attempts at a conspiracy theory are outright laughable.

          And the torched Taurus….who set it alight, who "flipped" it over, who owned the car and how did it get there?

      • I was at Queen's when they had a Castle. They still have it. And I don't need to ask what they did with it, it's an International Studies Centre.

        • definately still has a castle. need to check your facts people. Students here aren't children, they're adults who can make their own choices.

  9. Universities are for adults. These are not adults.

    If they're going to behave like children, send them home.

    • If I'm paying my own way to through school, and accumulating $60,000+ in debt before I even hit 25 I think I will enjoy my University years to their fullest extent thank you very much. When the government and tax payers start pitching in to help us students out then you can talk. Because unfortunately when I finish university, I know that I will have to get a low paying 9-5 job that I hate just to pay off those loans. Can't wait to be an "Adult"!

      • Actually, us taxpayers and the government DO help you out a great deal! Perhaps you are blissfully unaware of this fact, regardless of whether you will have loans (student or not) to pay off.

        I am grateful to the taxpayers of Canada, and to the government for subsidizing my own university education. I dread to think what my own debt would have been like otherwise!

        Congratulations and good luck with your education, and make sure that you enjoy your time there, too.

    • To be fair, part of adulthood is doing what you want without caring what patronizing strangers think. Part of what's fun about adulthood is that nobody can "send" you home just because they don't like you.

      • Well, that's what kids think adulthood is all about ;-)

    • you mean the adult professors who've never had a real job? or do you mean the teenagers that go to their classes?

  10. Further proof that alcohol prohibition never works. Regardless of what you as a parent, university administrator, residence fellow, or cop say, many students want to have a drink during frosh. And why not? As Emily notes above, universities are for adults, and adults make their own decisions – and face the good or bad consequences of those decisions. Here in Quebec (where I go to school), alcohol is in great supply during frosh week. Sure, some people drink too much, make fools of themselves, or (horror!) piss behind a tree at 3am (sorry Saytan, this doesn't actually spread illness – dogs do it everyday). Some even get hurt, and hopefully learn something from it . But guess what? Almost all of them get over the thrill of it after a few weeks or months and go on to study, graduate, and get jobs – just like their parents probably did, and just like most of this magazine's readers probably did. Less, not more nannying is what's needed here if we want our universities to produce mature, thoughtful, independent, and capable graduates.

    • I agree entirely. I know that was definitely my experience.

      I also think Bonnie Neuman's suggestion of separating new undergrads from older students in residence is a bad idea – having a mix of ages and experiences means that not everyone in your dorm will be into drinking and partying. This gives non-drinkers friends to hang out with and alternatives to drinking all weekend.

    • I also absolutely agree. My frosh week was boring, and in some ways patronizing. I was 19 years old, and I was okay with dry events, but it's like a strange combination of summer camp and after-school specials. I just went to the bar, and I partied. Hard. At least for the first little bit, then I got it out of my system, and made great grades. Still went out occasionally, as does any adult, but it taught me moderation and my own limits. A lesson every person has to learn for themselves, by making their own mistakes. Don't take that away from people. Trial and error is the greatest teacher of all.

  11. Aberdeen doesn't "cost the police $200,000." They have used Aberdeen as an excuse to buy new equipment every year, and are using Queen's students as a scapegoat.

    The last time I was in Kingston for homecoming, I was walking down the street with a few friends and police drove by, pointing a water cannon out the side at us. Just in case?

    • My adolescents' peers make plans to go and stay with siblings and friends at Queens so that they can join in the drunkenness and extreme rowdiness that takes place — this has happened for the past few years. The friends drive from communities that are two to three hours from Kingston.

      Now that one of my adolescents is now university-aged and has friends at Queens he hears how things are currently; some of his friends have transferred schools because they are worried about Queens' reputation . My student was offered a spot at Queens in the advanced offers, but largely refused it due to the "new" reputation of Queens, in spite of repeated letters encouraging him to accept, and scholarship money. Sad.

  12. And just when was the last time your were in K-town Queen's alumnus? A visiting drunk were you?

    You're the one throwing costing figures around. To suggest "they" (the police) use Aberdeen as a sole rationale for equipment purchases is ludicrous.

    Why not attend police commission or city budget meetings and get the true numbers.

    • Chester, it's in the article above. Did you read it?

    • since we are correcting each other like small children, it is worth noting that Queen's university actually foots the bill for the police, not tax payers…

  13. Yes, I've seen the cops on the corners. I'm an alumnus and it was not like that when I was there. It's totally excessive, to have law enforcement blanketing the place like it's a terrorist training camp.

    • Kids attitudes have changed over the past two or three decades — seems to me that when kids feel entitled that this kind of behaviour runs to extremes and excessiveness. Perhaps the police need to adapt their methods, but it seems to me that the university and the students themselves need to do something, too.

  14. Wow. The writer did not spend a great deal of time investigating other universities in Ontario. I have a second year student at McMaster who had an *amazing* frosh/Welcome Week there last year, and was a faculty rep this year. The "culture" at McMaster is impressive, to say the least, and the students were impressive in their attitude, their enthusiasm, and yes, their ability to "party" — they did not need to get ill drinking, or participate in vandalizing the campus or the surrounding neighbourhood, yet they have an incredibly wonderful time. My spouse and I had terrific times at our universities (we both went to three), but none of them matched McMaster in their efforts to welcome, include, encourage, and make sure that the students were beginning the year having a great time. Bravo McMaster! You should be an inspiration to other universities!

    • I agree with you! My son had an amazing first year orientation week at U of T. I applaud the student leaders there for having an amazing Frosh week. Some universities have a reputation for being "party schools", and Queen's and Laurier are two of those schools. Others are known for being more tame, such at U of T, Waterloo and McMaster.

      • You're both ignorant!

        Queen's university orientation 'frosh' week is ENTIRELY alcohol free. As an upper year student that participated as a frosh leader this year, let me make this very clear:

        Queen's sanctions only alcohol-free activites for frosh week from morning to night every day for the week! As a volunteer I woke up between 6 and 7 nearly every morning in order to prepare these ALCOHOL FREE activites for students. They encompassed events that were both fun and educational, and each faculty also participated in their own fundraisers throughout the Kingston community as well. These activites ran through to the night, ending between 11 and midnight each night, providing safe, enjoyable activities as an alternative to partying.

        • Oh, and by the way, EVERY SINGLE PERSON that volunteered for frosh week paid to volunteer- my fee was 50$, on top of tuition, rent, living expenses that I am also paying for myself- AND we all had to sign a contract that specifies no alcohol consumption for the duration of the week. Queen's students are extraordinarily dedicated to the welcoming of first years. I am extremely offended, as someone that gave up working for the last two weeks of summer, to be extensively trained to be a frosh leader, then to actually participate in orientation week, that gave up sleep for those weeks- I'd like to see you continue to be spirited, energetic, friendly role models surviving on less than six hours sleep for that long- and donated my own money, to help facilitate the success of Queen's Orientation Week.

          • If you're upset by kids drinking and partying, perhaps you should leave the blame with their parents for their parenting, or the students- and now young adults- that are legally responsible for their own actions.

            And if you believe that drinking and partying at university is unique to Queen's or other schools with a 'partying' reputation? You're delusional too.

    • I was also shocked that McMaster wasn't mentioned. As an undergraduate student I was a volunteer during frosh week for 4 years, and McMaster dealt with many of the issued mentioned over that time. McMaster also dealt with some serious injuries during frosh/welcome week years ago (ealy 1990s) which were one of the instigating events for changing how frosh week was run. I was a volunteer during the transition from a fully "wet" week (most incoming students were 19) to a fully "dry" week (most students were under 19). There are lots of interesting things happenign at Canadian universities, it is important to discuss them, beyodn what's hitting the news right now.

  15. Glendon campus York U declared a dry Frosh without any problems as far as I know. The Frosh leaders just told us they enjoy getting their degrees…

  16. Good post. I'm not a 'Queensman' but the more social half of my family (several generations) are, and can attest that what is called 'Queen's school spirit' is neither elitist privilege nor mindless boozing. (That will disappoint a few elitist boozers who went to Queen's, but they really are very few.) This spirit will prevail even if some events end. Too bad about move-in day, however. Those purple engineering students aren't the worst gremlins in first-year students' lives.

    In my view, young people's excessive drinking is not a particular problem with Queen's or universities, but with Ontario; it's only more noticeable in Kingston only because it occurs amidst genuine fun. The fellowship and 'random acts of kindness' among Queen's students are a more telling mark on the community. I remember enrolling in a distance education course years ago, and being led across the campus on a glorious September afternoon by a stranger, an alumnus returning to upgrade his engineering qualifictions. Typically, he joked that while at Queen's 'I was drunk for four years', but obviously had more to commend him than that. The courses I took were very full and demanding; it was clear that this university (unlike some institutions) takes academic standards and students seriously.

  17. People have been under-age drinking for decades. The problem now, I believe, is the culture of BINGE-drinking. I too sent my kid to u. with a 40-ouncer — she has been responsible with it and doesn't drink so much that she endagers herself or others.

  18. Here's the new pitch – "Come to our university – you can work hard, fill your brains with facts, but don't under any circumstances have fun or interact with your fellow human beings, some of whom may have habits, behaviours or ideas that don't sit well with our senate or administration. We want you all to grow up to be as fun-loving and open to ideas as your current political leaders of all parties (oops, lets call them organizations – the p-word seems to involve the idea of enjoyment)."

    • You obviously have had no exposure to McMaster University ;-) — you could not be MORE wrong! I am impressed with them beyond what words can express. My spouse and I have actually both expressed that we wish that our universities (decades ago) had offered us what McMaster and its student body has offered our child during frosh/Welcome Week and during the year! We had a great deal of fun during our frosh weeks, but what McMaster offers far surpasses anything we experienced. Truly.

  19. I have to say that I am currently a fourth year student at Ottawa U and we don't enforce a dry frosh week. There is an alternative dry frosh program offered for students who wish to partake in that as well. Honestly, I have seen and heard of very little problems at my school, with many of my friends being frosh leaders, and stepping up with helping guide the new students. The point of moving away to university is to find your way of becoming an adult. Sure, you are going to make mistakes, possibly over indulge, but you learn from them and go on to be able to make responsible decisions. Most people either learn from their mistakes first year or they drop out, and that's their right. This is University, not boarding school. I think things need to be kept under control, not vetoed entirely.

  20. This person is not telling the whole story. University of Ottawa still has a student run "frosh" week the name was changed to 101 week when the student union created by-law 13. This by-law is specifically about 101 and the volunteers all sign contracts and commit themselves to making sure all the incoming students have a fun time, with minimal risk. This includes promising not to make anyone do something they don't want and not drinking so they're capable of taking care of drunk 101s, and a zero tolerance on underage drinking. Anyone who breaks the rules is kicked out of the week. Most years these days no one goes to the hospital at all :-)
    So in conclusion students are more than capable of acting like hooligans for a week, but doing so responsibly.

    P.S. The purple guy is volunteer and not a first year, and he is a University of Ottawa student!

  21. Why don't we enact the War Measures Act and lock up all those evil students until they realize that university is no longer about making friends and developing a sense of self-responsibility. Then it would certainly be possible for the riot cops lining Aberdeen Street to beat you senseless and take you to the drunk tank for jaywalking. Oh wait, they do that anyways.

  22. I agree with muidar completely, Queen's has a student run Orientation Week, faculty wide. All frosh week leaders are picked from a vast number of applicants through a extensive hiring process because of their leadership qualities as well as their willingness to show student the pride of their faculty. This past frosh week has been run almost flawlessly. Students are all told that all the events are optional and that if they feel uncomfortable at any time, they should simply tell their leaders or on of the students on the organizing committees whose job it is to make everyone feel inclusive. Second of all, all of the events are dry. If anyone shows up in an altered state, the leaders will take them back to their rez and notify their dons. Leaders are on contract during the whole week saying they will not be drinking for the entire week as well as many other conditions. The problem here is the mentality students come into university with. They are away from their parents, they have no curfew and they have no consequences. This is what we need to try and change, not frosh week because without frosh week, all students would have is more unstructured time to do what they want.

  23. I second Chris' comments! As a past 'frosh', orientation leader, and Orientation Week organizer, I can tell you with certainty that all Frosh week activities at Queen's are completely dry for all participants involved. The various faculty orientations do a wonderful job of providing fun, inclusive and safe activities, which foster school spirit and pride. My experiences with orientation week were the highlight of my time at Queen's and I know this is true for many others. Now a grad student at a university, which has a minimal Frosh week and does extremely little to foster school spirit, I have noticed there is a definite lack of a sense of community on campus. Orientation week has huge value for universities and does not promote drinking. Rather being at university and being away from home for the first time, with no curfew, supervision etc/ is the cause. The drinking, which goes on during frosh week, happens after the days activities end, and would take place regardless. Canceling Orientation weeks would only exacerbate the issue because it means students won't have alternatives to drinking and partying. Efforts to do so would create more dangerous situations where students celebrate on their own ( case in point: the canceling of homecoming has just made students more determined to celebrate it). The focus instead should be on alcohol awareness (addressing the reasons why students drink) and harm reduction and safety. You can't stop drinking on university campuses, but you can observe it without judgment and use regulations/ laws on drinking to make sure it's not excessive or dangerous to others.

  24. I don't know about the picture on the left, but the other two are not from queens

  25. " A generation of children raised in an era so risk-averse that schools ripped seesaws, parallel bars and fireman's poles from playgrounds has come of age and gone to university." What a terrible comment on a generation of students and the idiocy of their parents. Everyone is dangerous, no where is safe, they're so "green" that it's painful and so full of their vision of what the world should be like that it almost makes one weep. And they are still virtually children – children who were denied a childhood. I'm with moxywoman. Let them have good, clean fun. Parents who sent their children off to school with a 40oz or a case of beer – be ashamed. You're probably the same parents who gave them all the technological toys so that they would stay in their rooms and not keep you from your careers.

  26. There’s no stopping underage drinking at Universities… Frosh week or not, the first week back at any University is a full blown week of partying… The problem isn’t the drinking, it’s knowing how to be safe when doing so. More and more I see new student’s arrive at Universities who have been over protected by their parents and have very little to no experience with alcohol. Now imagine those student’s now entering an environment where drinking is just part of social life and experimentation. They will not know how to control themselves… This of course is extremely dangerous. With previous experience, first years can be safe and know when to say no.

    I fully disagree with stopping frosh week at queen’s. It is a great way to make friends in an environment where studies do come first, but life experiences are almost as important. I am a third year Electrical Engineering student at Queen’s University, and I would like to say that I will never forget my frosh week. I had made friendships that will last a lifetime, and experienced things that will make me a better man in society. I would finally like to add that it is also very sad for me to say that frosh weeks have been going downhill since my year, Sci ’13. The tradition of being a Queen’s Engineer is dying, and I ask all alumni to speak out for this cause and help us bring back what made us who we are…

    And lets be honest now, This is the motto for Queen’s Engineers since 1963 and is on all of our jackets. It was written by a professor…
    “Quis Dolor Cui Dolium.”
    Actual translation – “Who suffers, who has a cask of wine?”
    Modern translation – “What the hell, as long as there’s free beer.”

  27. this is so stupid. like really? there is no stopping underage drinking at universities in general. and frosh isn’t all about drinking, there are so many more valuable aspects to it and it really helps high school students adjust to university. maybe you guys, Julia Belluz and Nicholas Kohler just didn’t have a time at your frosh. don’t go ruining everybody else’s potential life moments (sober, life moments).