The theme of this year’s Senior Dis-Orientation poses the question, “Why so Dis-Oriented?” Though its selection as a theme is no doubt merely a reference to the newest and extremely popular installment of the Batman series, this little play on words raises a deeper question about the nature of our college experience: Why does alcohol – and the subsequent disorientation – play such a central role in fun during Senior Dis-Orientation?

Senior Dis-O is an annual and much-anticipated tradition planned by the Senior Class Committee. The committee plans events that take place every day for a week in the fall to bring together the senior class. This year, the effort is headed up by Jake Styacich (COL ’09). The activities range from drinking on the Leavey Esplanade to drinking in O’Donovan Hall to drinking in Adams Morgan to drinking at Thirds to drinking at The Tombs to drinking at Clyde’s to a few other events such as hoagies with the Jesuits, a movie showing, an art exhibit and community service. The pattern is obvious. Senior Dis-Orientation, or at least the parts that the most people attend, largely revolves around drinking with one’s classmates.

But it’s not something that only the planners of this week should be criticized for – they are largely giving the people what they want.

“Historically, more people go to the alcoholic rather than the non-alcoholic events,” Styacich says. “We’re in college, and people want to drink. But we’re trying to change that. . We want to get everyone involved in Dis-O.”

In fact, the SCC should be applauded for the good turnout of seniors despite weather conditions, and overall, Dis-O seems to be running well with lots of enthusiasm from the Class of 2009. Still, even though the committee planned non-alcoholic programming and has been attempting to draw larger crowds for the non-drinking events, few people, at least in comparison to the number that turn out for drinking events, have been attending them. Most dismal was the showing of “Batman Begins,” which cost the committee around $1,000 for a new stereo system and movie rights, and to which about 25 people showed up.

This trend is problematic on three levels. First of all, there are many seniors who are not yet 21 and therefore cannot fully participate in many of the most popular activities. They are not able to attend the nights at The Tombs, Thirds and Adams Morgan.

Second, there are also many people of legal drinking age who choose not to imbibe. Although there is some programming aimed towards non-alcoholic fun, it seems merely a token gesture, and few people show up to those events. Students aren’t given the option of buying a “non-drinking” cheaper ticket to Dis-O. Regardless of legal ability to drink or desire to have alcohol, all seniors pay the same price for their wristband.

This brings us to our third and perhaps most problematic point: If the point of Senior Dis-Orientation is to encourage cohesiveness and build memories of one of the greatest years of our lives, shouldn’t there at least be one truly extraordinary and exciting event that everyone can participate in? How about a trip with sponsored buses to an amusement park or a campus-wide water fight where water balloons and water guns are provided? The reason for the failure of the senior class to fully connect without alcohol doesn’t lie just with the SCC for its inability to plan exciting non-alcoholic events, but also with the senior class’s inability to turn out in force for anything that doesn’t involve booze. With the quantity of alcohol involved at the majority of Dis-O events, it seems that seniors are more likely to forget the week that they are supposed to remember.

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