Cheaton Cup, an event originally started as both a charitable event and as a way to settle inter-residence rivalries on the ice has been moved to the Wednesday of March 27th instead of its traditional Saturday. This should not be considered a major change, and while I’m not privy to the specifics, I’m quite sure that the powers that be did this for a good reason. After all, Cheaton Cup is known through out Nova Scotia as being a fantastic hockey game.
Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), it’s also known for its parties. Regrettably, the parties and alcohol fueled revelry have resulted in not a charitable boon but an effective net loss. The cost in security services and damages is higher than ticket profits. A small minority of Acadia’s students are passionate about that element and in their drunkenness wrack up costs through damages, fights, and hospital fees.
From what I’ve gathered, the change of dates was a calculated attempt to mitigate damage and costs. In theory, with more students in class on a school day, they would be less encouraged to drink.
I have no doubt these were noble intentions. However, I still fear that the change will result in students drinking on either the weekend prior to the Wednesday or on the weekend after- whichever has the bulk of the parties and festivities. In a worst case scenario, they party on both weekends. While I have confidence in the more experienced students, I fear the younger students might drink the day of the event and after. This would typically result in hungover students on the Monday, although with the date change this would leave them on the Friday.
I fear that any students who miss their Wednesday or Thursday classes will actively skip their Friday classes and make their own independent reading break. Students doing this unsponsored and unofficial reading break will likely be joined by people from outside the valley, who are attracted by the parties. I believe that changing the date is not enough of a deterrent, if it even acts as one in the first place.
“All well and good, that’s their choice,” I hear you say. “I don’t drink, so it’s not my problem”.
The option of leaving campus for the weekend has always been present. Those students are constricted by their class schedules unless they’re relieved of their classes for the day. While not only being uncomfortable or potentially triggering for students, some of those students will be Safety and Security personnel and RAs who also have to attend classes. This would dilute the already small, trained pool of personnel who would normally take measures to ensure that their residents are enjoying Cheaton safely.
Like it or not, it’s an open secret that one of the duties of an RA is to attend to heavily inebriated individuals, at the very least ensuring they end up in the recovery position. I fear this change, by reducing the trained cadre of advisors, will ensure that the costs of this event will impact student health.
Those inebriated masses are forced into either staying in class and disrupting other students, rather than recuperating in their beds as they would on the weekend. Nobody wins here. Students will decide to pre-drink and attend class which will more than likely affect students and faculty at a minimum. What concerns me from a health perspective is that having Cheaton on a school day where may cause people to feel pressured into catching up with their pre-drinking comrades. The difference being that the time frame is measured in minutes and not hours.
My biggest concern is that with the date change people who wouldn’t normally be around or on campus are now present and causing problems. The date change means that students who attend Wolfville Elementary School right next to campus will be walking with parents to attend their classes while Acadia students are drinking. The last thing anyone involved needs is a drunken Acadia student harassing or harming an elementary school student.
The parties, whenever and wherever they occur, will go late. I have full confidence that there will be noise violations and involvement from the RCMP long into the night. While this has always occurred regardless of the date, it becomes an issue as on a Wednesday a higher number of people will have to attend school and work the following day.
Between Green Jesus and Red Death damage is expected and will be accommodated for. I think this change will have, at least for the short term, dire consequences in both student health and cost of damages for this year’s cup. Traditionally the damage has been limited to the weekend but I fear it will stretch out for more than a week. I fear this will be the more damaging outcome not only on Acadia’s reputation, but on student health. This will prove costlier simply by having to pay security to monitor the student body for the week.
All transitions are difficult, but I think this choice will (in the long run) cut down on damages and save costs as campus adjusts to the new date. In the short term, I fear that everything discussed above will make this years Cheaton Cup more difficult and costlier.
Until Cheaton Cup 2019 is done we won’t be able to assess if this change was as poor of a choice as I believe it is. To be honest, I hope I’m wrong and everyone has a fantastic time. However, there’s no right answer that leaves everyone happy. Sometimes, all you can do is prepare and mitigate the damage.
Sean A. Schofield is a fourth year History major