Hmm...I was afraid this question would come up. So I'm posting a few thoughts
I've had on the subject over the past few weeks.
Nearly the first thing people think of when I mention that my major is Russian
and Eastern European Studies is vodka. During my month there, I saw 2 liter
bottles of beer (like you find a 2 liter bottle of Sprite), Arizona Ice Tea
sized cans of gin, nearly nightly consumption of alcohol and the like. Alcohol
is a major part of Russian culture, so I guess it was only a matter of time
before the word appeared on the EMail list.
First things first: the Russian Club does not exist yet. We are not recognized
by SGA, we have had no meetings and we have no constitution and no official
membership. This party had been conceptualized as a way for everyone who is
interested in helping the club along during its formative stages as well as
being involved in the future to get to know each other in a casual environment.
So, it can be considered an independent party (my favorite kind).
However, we are looking to become a real club that does real things (aiding in
study abroad programs, possibly re-establishing the Russian House, inviting
speakers and having events). If we are to set a precedent of "that club that
gets together and drinks vodka," we will have stunted our growth before we were
even truly born.
My feeling is that drinking should be at the prerogative of the individual, as
it is at any family dinner, religious service or most social events, but that
it should not be at the center of the party. I myself am not a fan of alcohol
culture, having not consumed alcohol in nearly a year and a half and generally
finding myself bored by parties that center around drinking. We should also
consider whether or not we will be putting the faculty on this EMail list in an
awkward position legally and ethically speaking, not to mention our membership
of under 21 (myself included again).
The party itself will be held off-campus, so I think we're clear as far as UVM
regulations go. Perhaps a good precedent to set would be to not discuss
alcohol publicly on the list or at future meetings, while maintaining the
perspective that it is at the prerogative of the individual.
And for those who think they will feel alienated by the drinking, there will be
plenty of things to do/people to meet where alcohol will not be part of the
In short, we want this to be inclusive. I hope Ivan and those who had similar
reservations will reconsider not coming, and that those who may or may not
possibly maybe consider thinking about drinking will not create the sort of
environment where non-drinkers will feel alienated.
But hey, the party is gonna rock. Movies, borshch, organizing, Russians, music,
agitating, dancing, party building and games. Plus, there's somewhere around
45 people on this EMail list, so you're bound to make some new friends.
Please feel free to post regarding this matter.
PS. If your response relates to the entire group, just click reply. If you want
to respond to me (or whoever sends the Email) only, click on the person's name
and write your response that way.