I grew up in Clarkston, Washington, just 30 miles south of here. 1950s and 1960s Clarkston offered virtually no opportunities to experience different cultures or even to hear English in different accents.
WSU was the first of several universities I attended in 1968 as I was pursuing an education.
WSU has changed a lot since then and, in my opinion, contributed hugely to the culture of this region by attracting so many international and urban influences. International cultural influences abound.
At the same time, I am growing increasingly worried about the culture of the campus itself. To be clear, I do not mean the international culture. I am expressing concern about the social culture.
Students dead or injured from intoxication or falling out of windows or off balconies, students who hold prominent positions caught committing crimes because of alcohol, knife fights and more— none of this used to happen here, and none of it should be happening now.
The cultural issue needing attention at WSU is the culture of irresponsible drinking. What are the underlying causes? What social mechanisms drive it? What strategies could effectively redirect it?
If administrators can devise programs that encourage more cultural diversity, if students can rally to fight AIDS, homophobia, and violence against women, why can’t both groups join forces to challenge WSU’s emerging--and increasingly self-destructive-- culture of irresponsible social drinking?
Charmaine Wellington, Ph.D.
WSU Global Campus eLearning Consultant