Backyard Lessons

In the seventies, call-downs ultimately transitioned to wake-up calls with increased awareness of alcohol abuse. Open containers were common by 1980. (1980 Bluestone, 46).

[hide-featured]

It may have happened in the backyard, but students took it with them when they graduated.

In 1970 two forces worked against each other at James Madison University:  an ever-changing student body and an administration still operating with 1950s regulations.  Students drank in secret and administrators either remained oblivious, or simply pretended it did not happen. Then President Carrier arrived.   As the radical protests of the sixties entered a more subdued seventies phase, student-driven-Carrier-supported steps totally reformed and almost freed alcohol policies by 1980.

In the seventies aftermath, many labeled this drinking experiment a mad failure that proved eighteen is just too young to drink.  Certainly, a nation thought so with the reversal of drinking age laws.  However, the consequences of excessive partying gave rise to debates about alcoholism and its detrimental effects.  Openness and awareness generated a need for education about the dos and don’ts of drinking in order to protect lives at all levels of society, including a university campus in a small conservative town.

The college experience has always included more than just note-taking and tests (1980 Bluestone, 60).

By the end of the decade, James Madison University students’ explorations had evolved into both a desire and need for greater self-regulation.  The one hundred and eighty degree directional turn of alcohol policies accompanied the evolution of the campus into a modern university environment that compared to others in Virginia.  Ironically, the Carrier administration that engineered new buildings, diversified the student body with the acceptance of more male students and increased the total population on campus never altered their expectations of students.  While administrators worked to provide a safe haven, the destinations and fates of students rested primarily on their individual actions and behaviors.  Ultimately, students chartered their paths.  Maybe the most valuable life lessons did not stem from the classrooms and study sessions on the Quad, but the shaping of policies and experimentation that occurred in the campus backyard.

 

Images Cited:

Cover image: 1980 Bluestone, Harrisonburg, VA:  James Madison University, 1980, Accessed April 22, 2012 from http://archive.org/stream/bluestone198072jame#page/n3/mode/1up, 46, Edited in Adobe Photoshop by Charity Derrow, April 22, 2012.

Top image: 1980 Bluestone, Harrisonburg, VA:  James Madison University, 1980, Accessed April 22, 2012 from http://archive.org/stream/bluestone198072jame#page/n3/mode/1up, 46, Edited in Adobe Photoshop by Charity Derrow, April 22, 2012.

Right image:  1980 Bluestone, Harrisonburg, VA:  James Madison University, 1980, Accessed April 22, 2012 from http://archive.org/stream/bluestone198072jame#page/n3/mode/1up