Traveller Should Run All O-Week
By Ty Mitchell
Traveller is probably one of the most unique and helpful programs employed by Washington and Lee, and the ability to get a ride home safely is something that we as a community might take for granted. As good as this system is, one major shortcoming does exist. Even though Orientation Week is probably one of the most party-concentrated weeks of the year, with hundreds packing off-campus houses every night, Traveller does not run for the whole week.
Every year, freshmen arrive on campus on a Saturday morning. By this point, most of the upperclassmen have moved into their homes off campus, anticipating the arrival of O-Week. From that Saturday night through the entire next week and weekend, parties take place every night. From Old House to Windfall Hill to the Cabins to the Pole Houses, there is always some sort of social event happening. Since these parties inevitably happen every year, and because they all must occur off-campus due to the university’s rule banning freshmen from fraternity houses before the academic year starts, wouldn’t it make sense to have Traveller run every day during O-Week?
The mentality of many students during this week is to go out and celebrate the return to school with a plethora of beverages. This mindset is even truer for freshmen, who are just experiencing their first taste of uninhibited freedom. It is encouraged, if not expected, that freshmen go to as many O-Week parties as possible to get a taste of the college life. After all, classes do not technically start until the Thursday of O-Week, and even then, not a whole lot is accomplished on the first day of class.
Though the school has obviously tried to cut down on O-Week parties by pushing freshmen orientation events later in the evening, it does not stop students from going out and becoming intoxicated afterwards. This is a reality the university needs to come to terms with. After all that has happened over the past year, it would seem like safety would be a top priority, especially during a time when everyone knows that the whole school will be going out. The school needs to realize the error of their notion that people only go out during O-Week when Traveller is running. Taking away safe rides from students will not discourage them from going out, but instead encourages more dangerous behavior to occur late in the night, such as walking home or drunk driving.
The same issue also pertains to graduation week, as the school has historically suspended Traveller before that time, much to the dismay of seniors who have just a few days left with their friends at this place. Although there are usually less people on campus because many underclassmen go home before graduation, many graduating seniors celebrate their accomplishments every night of that week.
For a university that has preached safety at social events, there is no excuse not to have Travller running on these two weeks. Even if the school had to raise the Traveller fee an extra $10 a year per person to pay for the extra days (which I don’t know why would be necessary with a $1.2 billion endowment), students and their families would feel safer knowing that they could get home. Let’s just try and stop waging a war against parties during orientation and graduation weeks, and take a practical step into making these celebrations safer.