Like it or not, there’s no denying that Oswego is a party school. The school can try to minimize this fact all it wants, but the students and residents of Oswego know it to be true.
We are a Div. III school that could hold its own with any big conference school in terms of partying, and that’s disconcerting to a lot of people. Every Monday morning becomes a day to recount the horror stories of the past weekend. It’s often a mixed bag; we as students have to constantly deal with the idea we are an unwanted, yet necessary presence in town during the school year.
Our partying is getting worse, as the town and the lake are trashed on a yearly basis while we leave the bill and the cleanup process to the people who live here year-round.
The school, eager to save face and repair some bridges with the town of Oswego, has started to respond to this by coming down hard on partying and underage drinking. Security cameras are everywhere in residence halls now; one was bolted to the side of my Village townhouse without warning one September morning.
University Police is stepping up its presence on campus with increased patrol units out and about, especially in the woods surrounding the lakeshore and Glimmerglass Lagoon. You hear about Resident Assistants speaking about weekends and nights on call like they were talking about firefights and combat situations. It’s definitely getting hairy out there, but some people aren’t getting the message because the party hasn’t ended for them.
All of this clashes with the reality of the situation: Kids are still drinking, smoking and doing other illicit things more than ever. Let’s be honest with ourselves: Oswego is a great school that I’m proud to call my future alma mater, but a lot of us came here knowing we were going to party and party hard. It’s something you hear all the time, from alumni, upperclassmen and freshmen whose older siblings or friends went here: “Back in the day, you could get away with murder at this school, but now who knows?” Some people still act like the glory days are still here and thriving and who’s to tell them they’re not here when they’re still getting away with this much?
Oswego State is experiencing a major identity crisis. It can’t deny the party element and policing the issues into submission won’t solve anything. It will just make students more creative in how they break the rules. Pumping a bunch of money into new signs for parents and the media and planting some new greenery just in time for winter also isn’t going to make the problem any less apparent. It’s all going to come to a head this May when the apparently bigger and retooled spring concert butts heads against the proverbial elephant in the room, Bridge Street Run.
If you have fatalistic leanings, as I am often prone to, then this is the last call for the Oswego of old. We’re all going to see, for better or worse, what the future holds for incoming students.