Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Way Forward

Aaron Thompson, who works with Student Life at Otago University, has just published an eight-page essay on alcohol and the Gen Y students who are now attending the University. The essay, called The Way Forward, is full of commonsense (something Aaron says most students lack, and which is part of the problem) and offers some well-thought out solutions. Here's a sample from early in the essay.

The day and age has come where old‐fashioned common sense just does not exist en masse, in a self‐evident fashion. Whilst our little country has been buying and trading, sunbathing and fishing, boy racing or tending roses... a gradual but certain paradigm shift has occurred in our youth. The excess of a decade of wealth production combined with the political correctness of our time have resulted in a crop of spoilt brats, who are entitled to what was promised them: whatever they want!

And now who are we to deny them such rights: to dance in the streets, to drink irresponsibly, to throw bottles, to destroy property? After all, it’s everyone’s right‐ the greatest value of Generation Y‐ to have fun. It is hardly surprising that a university that has promoted itself as the place to “get over it” should now find itself in such a predicament.

“Get over it” is the perfect slogan for today’s youth. It meets them where they’re at. Whatever marketing company harnessed the phrase is nothing short of brilliant, because this slogan met a generational desire with 100% accuracy. But there are always two edges to every sword, and in earlier years the slogan earned us student numbers. The now emerging downside is that for such students and such a culture, the same phrase is has conveniently become the stock excuse of a culture out of control. “You don’t like my behaviour – get over it!”

Read the complete essay here. By the way, this essay doesn't just apply to youth drinking in Dunedin; it's relevant way beyond our borders.

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