May I Suggest?

Sam Verhulst – Columnist

Columnist Sam VerhulstPrior to spring break, I suggested the radical idea of Dordt starting a bar on campus. I believe the reasoning behind this suggestion is sound. Alcohol can be good, yet more often than not, it is abused. This is exactly the area where a Reformed college such as Dordt should step in and do some reforming. However, I realize that implementing this suggestion in real life could cause some problems. This week I would like to suggest some practical ways to successfully implement alcohol on a Christian campus.

Limited Hours. An extremely important characteristic of the bar is its business hours. Having a bar open every night is simply not possible. One or two nights a week would be more than enough to adequately inform students about the benefits and pitfalls of alcohol consumption, build community and have a good time. This would also limit the amount of people requiring licenses, as well as the amount of mature adults needed to populate the venue.

Mature Attendance. The success of the bar hinges on this characteristic. The consistent presence of older, mature role models is what would separate this place from any other drinking establishment. These would be people who have been around alcohol for a while. They have seen the benefits and community building of a drink or two, but they have also seen the drawbacks of a few too many.  They would be willing to spend some time with the younger generation, learn about them and develop relationships that can carry on outside of a night at the bar.

People have asked me why the bar needs to be at Dordt. Why can’t people walk down the street to the Lighthouse? I think it is a great place, but I do not think the Lighthouse is a great environment for intergenerational wisdom to be passed on. It is a place where sometimes you can see that alcohol is good, but not one where you learn about the abuse. There is no redeeming going on. The Dordt bar would incorporate young and old, professors and students, in a dedicated effort to better understand the world around us.

No Drink Limit. This is the final characteristic that I believe is necessary. Some have told me there would need to be a limit of one or two drinks. I think this defeats the whole purpose. People need to learn when to stop, rather than have strict limitations put on them. This is why students no longer have open hours in the apartments. We are learning how to make responsible decisions for ourselves.  The environment would be one that discourages people passing out on tables. No one will get too turnt up if Dr. Tazelaar is around. If President Hoekstra ever made an appearance, I cannot imagine people getting too weird. Having a drink limit is admitting defeat before you begin.

Some people may think this idea is way over the top.  Others will think it sounds like the most boring bar on earth. It is impossible to convey such a complicated idea in 500 words, but I hope you can all see at least a small bit of merit in the Dordt.

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