Sunday, March 06, 2011

Some unofficial thoughts on Unofficial

I'm back. Blog apathy strikes again. I'm sorry, it's nothing personal.

Unofficial was this past Friday. I don't really have much to say about that subject. Most of my experience with Unofficial involved riding a bus home after work that smelled like stale beer.
Gerry Schweighart, the mayor of Champaign, and therefore the city government, appear to very much disapprove of Unofficial. They ramp up alcohol enforcement before and during the event. The News-Gazette's front article today calls the ticketed students "scofflaws", Unofficial a "bacchanal" that is "the most dreaded annual event on the UI campus."
This year, however, a 21-year-old UIUC student was struck by two cars while crossing the street Friday night and remains in critical condition. I don't know if this was Unofficial-related or not, but for the sake of pontificating, I will assume so.
This is the second significant injury that's happened during Unofficial in my time here. In 2006, a student was killed after falling off the back of a motorcycle.
I think it's time this stopped. I don't mean Unofficial; I'm not sure how you could stop that without giving the mayor dictatorial control over the city. I mean, I think it's time the city embraced Unofficial and made it safer. There are plenty of other communities that host crazy events; maybe we should look into how they do it. There's South Padre Island during Spring Break, for one. I assure you that Unofficial is the pale shadow of Mardi Gras's little brother's second banana.
For starters, I think that Campustown and possibly the roads around the main quad should be closed to street traffic.
It's important to remember that Unofficial isn't a creation of University students. It's a creation of a Campustown bar owner. It's the goal of Unofficial to get students into the bars to drink. That being said, allowing 18 to 20-year olds into bars on this weekend is just stupid. Of course they're there to drink.
I'm less concerned with creating a moral hazard involving alcohol and more interested in creating an environment where students can be their stupid selves and not be killed doing it.
UPDATE: Someone over at today's N-G article suggested making it a parents weekend. I think that's a great idea. I think the presence of a lot of students' parents would tone down the no-holds-barred partying. (Not to mention the possible expectation that they'd have to be awake before noon the next day.)


Des said...

I think that making it a parent's weekend would be a creative way to tone down the drinking. I never minded Unofficial when I was a student, but I spent the time at work on the other side of campus. I took special care not to be in campustown on that day. That being said, I think a lot of steps they take such as limiting guests in dorms etc... help to create a safer environment. But to continue to demonize the event by the cities and the university is only serving to make it more popular and help to fuel the fire.

Dan said...

More info on the accident:

Anonymous said...

Update: Whaa? Wake before noon? Why?