Conference drinking, relations cause university misrepresentations

Each semester, many students take their on-campus organizational and professional experiences to business meetings and conferences outside the university. They connect with other students while building their leadership skills. They use these conferences to show their findings of their research, to learn more about issues they are passionate about and to advocate for specific interest groups.

Some of these groups representing SVSU at these conferences engage in behaviors that might not be becoming for the university. Once the business is done for the day, some of these groups turn to alcohol and sexual relationships. Sometimes, even the underage individuals will engage in the drinking.

It’s understandable that students want to kick back and celebrate being around a bunch of student leaders who share similar passions to them. But doing it at these conferences gives the university a bad name. We don’t want other colleges and universities at these professional development opportunities to think of us only as the school that has all the alcoholics or promiscuous individuals.

This is not to mention the possible hangover that can inhibit abilities to perform at the highest level during the second day of business. And if these conference relations end on a bad note, these students may have a hard time interacting with them in the future on a professional level.

Even though Olympians are notorious for engaging in some of these behaviors at their worldly gatherings, it does not bypass the fact that these are students at this event on behalf of their university, not on behalf of themselves.

Some of these organizations shell out $6,000 in a given year for their monthly gatherings — all of which comes from your tuition money. At least one of these conferences even covers the cost of the delegates’ food, lodging, registration, entertainment (which often includes bowling, ice skating, etc.) and travel through student tuition money.

I’ve seen other institutions bar individuals from going to future conferences because of engaging in some of these behaviors.

Many conferences have policies in place where those discovered using alcohol or illegal drugs will be immediately sent home and barred from the conference’s activities. Not to mention, some of these conferences have business which can run as late as 1 a.m., which would definitely be a factor in preventing conference drinking.

This is not to shame individuals who have engaged in these behaviors, but to prevent future damage to the university’s reputation.

These opportunities should be seen more seriously. They are a privilege. It’s important for those attending to be fully aware and completely devoted to conference they have in front of them. That is what a professional development opportunity is truly about.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 2nd, 2013 and is filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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