SHAPE lecture hurtful, not helpful to Mercer's Greeks and athletes

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SHAPE lecture hurtful, not helpful to Mercer's Greeks and athletes

Garret McDowell

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With all due respect to the people involved with SHAPE, I feel compelled to use my position as a columnist to address something I feel was something of a travesty.
The ideas and thoughts here are not representative of the rest of The Cluster or my fraternity. What I say is attributable to me and me alone.
The recent mandatory SHAPE lecture, something that took nearly two hours of my day for rehashed information, was not helpful at all to the crusade of higher education officials who wish for students to make sound decisions concerning alcohol.
This lecture, while mildly entertaining, was condescending, and I made jokes about it during the actual presentation because of just how demeaning it was.
I know that it is an athletic requirement via the NCAA that they must attend some alcohol talks, in an attempt to instill good habits in the players.
I understand that there is a higher percentage of Greeks who drink as opposed to the average Mercer student.
As a result, I recognize that freshmen might need some tips about alcohol, especially if they have never been partiers or drinkers in high school.
The very fact that all Greeks and athletes were forced to attend a lecture about alcohol safety is not that upsetting.
However, being that no students had to come from the general population — and there was not space for them in Willingham auditorium it appeared — was derogatory and presumptuous.
I would go record saying that more of my friends, associates, and even people I just see at parties who have trouble with alcohol are not Greek.
I was unaffiliated for two years, and I can honestly say that I’ve seen many people not know limits or even basic effects of liquor who are unaffiliated.
Maybe we can attest this to the fact that people in Greek life drink more, so they have more experience.
Whatever the case may be, from two years outside Greek life and getting closer and closer to two years in it, my personal experience says that the general population of Mercer needs alcohol information more as opposed to athletes and Greeks.
I don’t dare offer some radical overhaul of the system. I simply ask that the lecture be held over several nights, and everyone should be required to go.
If it is a guest speaker, then record it and let people see a tape of it. I agree that the dangers of alcohol must be made aware to everyone, but it needs to be better than this presentation.
This presentation was rehashed information for me, and it did not bring anything new to the table.
Honestly, I don’t even remember the lady’s name. Regardless of who she was, she started off her talk with something that actually offended me.
Now, when I say offend, I mean more that rubbed a nerve with me due to her lack of professionalism and decency.
When I came to Mercer, I recognized that part of the Mercer experience would be classiness and sticking with some decency mixed with modernism.
Unfortunately, in an effort to stay connected to society, the university is accepting things that are downright shocking and would probably have Jesse Mercer rolling in his grave.
As seen in the picture, there is a little girl flicking off hundreds of attendees. To my horror, this was the presenter’s way of telling us what we all were thinking at that moment in time.
While I know many people had that thought on their mind, to show a picture like this and make light of the situation was too much and she should not be invited back.
Her attempts to engage the audience were met with ridiculous answers and sarcasm. She wasn’t taken seriously, and that wasn’t fair to her.
Yes, I don’t agree with her methods, but every speaker should at least have a welcoming audience.
Part of this is the fault of whoever declared all of Greek Life HAD to sit through this.
All in all, I really don’t have a problem with SHAPE. I take issue with the fact that this act actually helped propagate the stereotype that all fraternities and sororities do is drink.
This is NOT true, but a forced seminar makes it seem like there’s a serious alcohol problem with us.
Guess what Mercer?
Greeks drink. But guess what else? We take care of each other and are already accountable. We know better than the stereotype.
I don’t mean to sound arrogant and a like know-it-all, but I feel that this needed to be said.

Comments, questions and rebuttals to this column can be sent to Garret.mcdowell@gmail.com.

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