UWO can change its bad reputation

All colleges are known for different things and have a variety of reputations — UW-Platteville for its engineering program, UW-Whitewater for its business college and athletics program, UW- Green Bay for being a small school with Division I sports. The list goes on.

While here at UW Oshkosh, we are “known to be a drinking school,” as said by Selena Cashman, a junior at St. Norbert College.

Being a drinking school has come with multiple nicknames, including “Sloshkosh,” “UW Zero” and “Osh Vegas.”

UWO transfer student from UW-Fox Valley Caleb Jablonicky said this reputation is not something to brag about.

“It’s not something I’m proud to be associated with,” Jablonicky said. “I didn’t really know how much alcohol was an activity here until some time after I arrived.”

It’s disappointing that this is what UWO is known for when there’s so many other great things about the University, such as the competitive nursing program, the improving sports teams and being one of the few schools that combine radio, television and film into one major.

Instead, we are recognized for putting on a pub crawl event twice a year, where many students get very drunk and forget to think before acting.

With all of the recent crackdowns at the dorms surrounding each Pub Crawl weekend, it seems the University is trying to fight back against its drinking reputation. Pub Crawl weekends on campus have become more tame compared to only three years ago when many of the dorms were thrown into chaos.

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science graduate student Caitlin Wozniak said when she was an undergraduate at UWO, she noticed there was a lot of underage drinking problems.

“Poor police regulation and the obvious, underage drinking,” Wozniak said. “A house was on fire next to our dorm freshman year. At a party I got locked into, someone broke a window to escape, and I jumped out. I know someone who got raped at a sorority event. Just no regulation. Just chaos.”

While it’s true that there has been more campus regulation since Wozniak was a freshman, there may not be much more that the University can do to crack down.

Carroll University junior Kennedy Spang said she’s not sure there’s much that UWO can do to change its reputation because it may be more of a problem for local law enforcement.

“I don’t know if there is much the school itself can do because I think a lot of the drinking happens off campus at house parties,” Spang said. “I think it would be a matter of law enforcement in the surrounding area cracking down on it. It is an easy place to go out and drink without getting caught. It’s a large school, so it seems that there is always some sort of party going on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. I think it’s a common issue at larger universities.”

Perhaps Oshkosh’s Pub Crawl isn’t the problem that caused UWO to be known as a drinking school, especially since there is a pub crawl in La Crosse every year and UW-La Crosse isn’t known as a drinking school.

Cashman said while many schools have pub crawls, the one in Oshkosh is more of a main attraction for students all over the state.

“Multiple universities have pub crawls,” Cashman said. “I think UWO is just a main one for the area. It is fun and it does add to the drinking reputation. I feel like the students look forward to the semiannual event, and it seems publicized well throughout the community. It is mainly up to each individual student if they want to drink or not, so if Pub Crawl was gone, students would still drink no matter what if they wanted to. I don’t think it [would] solve the reputation completely, but it definitely does play a role in the stereotype of the college. ”

UW-Eau Claire junior Katherine Fischer said she doesn’t think Pub Crawl is what created UWO’s drinking reputation.

“I didn’t even know about Pub Crawl and I still had the same opinion on UWO’s drinking reputation,” Fischer said. “My hometown is close to UW Oshkosh, so I knew people that would go to Oshkosh for parties, so I guess that’s what started to make me think of Oshkosh that way.”

Therefore, if Pub Crawl isn’t entirely the problem then the University must find a way to either discourage house parties or provide other entertainment for students to enjoy.

While Titan Nights are decent events that some students enjoy, more often than not only a small portion of the students actually attend them. Also, they’re once a month and always end before midnight, which leaves plenty of time for students to hit a house party after.

Cashman suggested finding a way to get freshmen to enjoy other activities on campus in the hopes that this would discourage them from drinking and partying so much in the future.

“UWO could try and change by promoting other activities for the incoming freshmen instead of drinking,” Cashman said. “I believe that only people in the general area of Oshkosh or if students have older relatives that have attended the college know the stereotype. It is something they may take time to transition to in the future to become less drinking and party based.”

It may take a while, but there is still hope for UWO to change its reputation and stop being known as a drinking school. Perhaps one day incoming students will only know the University for its good parts rather than as somewhere to get drunk every weekend.