Party culture shouldn’t cost human lives

Students gather together inside of the Sports Arena during PantherPalooza 2019. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

Everything Georgia, a Georgia-centered news site, recently shared a video on Twitter of a massive party being hosted at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega in the middle of the pandemic. As the video went viral and more universities opened their doors, it became worrisome that this could be Georgia State’s fate as well.

At the moment, Georgia is third in the nation for new cases of COVID-19, and some of the highest concentrations of the virus can be seen on college campuses. Last month, the University of Georgia alone had the third highest case count in the nation.

Unsurprisingly, many students are upset to hear that their peers are partying, knowing that their room and board deposit are being put at risk of a university shutdown because of COVID-19 cases.

After viewing the original video of the University of North Georgia’s “welcome back celebration,” I couldn’t believe that so many people had suddenly forgotten that the pandemic was still ongoing. Did they simply not care enough about the threats and host a party, their health and safety be damned? 

I was furious that the university would have allowed such a gathering. I wondered how I would react in such a scenario, where not only my deposit but my life is put at risk because my peers valued cheap beer and loud music over other human lives. 

Nhu Vu, a sophomore studying psychology here at Georgia State, said that she could not respect students who chose to party right now.”

“I always assume that college students are the most woke about the [state] of the world since they are in a constant state of learning, but for them to put themselves and others at risk by going to a large social gathering is irresponsible,” Vu said.

We may be somewhat luckier than other University System of Georgia students, as Georgia State is still predominantly a commuter school, with 79% of students commuting to campus. Unfortunately, not all students are that lucky.

Vishal Parmar, a sophomore at the University of Georgia studying economics and international affairs, has seen firsthand how campus party culture is causing a massive surge in COVID-19 cases. 

“Greek life is still partying, and the bars are packed,” he said. “I feel like UGA is not taking COVID seriously. There’s little transparency. They don’t even publish daily COVID cases, only weekly, and they only test up to 300 people per day when our public health professor said that we need to test up to 6,000 a day.”

Parmar believes that the USG was unprepared to have students return to campus at all. 

“They should have required all of us to be tested, like the University of Alabama,” he said, referring to that university’s testing policy

There are tons of ways to have fun with your friends without risking other people’s lives. Students can easily drink on a Zoom call or just while watching a movie. You can socially distance at a park with friends and set up a conversation circle with masks if you need face-to-face contact. But don’t risk everyone because you selfishly put your own wants over the needs of the many. 

 At this point, if you are still going to parties and vacations, then you are more than just part of the problem. You are the problem.