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The Pros and Cons of Common Source
Earlier this semester, the school’s administration introduced measures to punish fraternities for serving common source alcohol. Seeing as BSC is a wet campus, students are unsure of how these rules may affect the fraternity functions that have traditionally served alcohol for the past several years.
Kyle Lo Porto, Assistant Director of Student Activities, explains that "common source is when an organization provides alcohol to a guest at their event.” He went on to say that common source tends to appear often at open fraternity parties, where organizations feel they need some way to draw guests to their events.
While the school is able to give this clear-cut definition of common source, some students are confused by the change of rules. Since the administration has changed its stance on the subject, some students are hesitant to believe that the rules are as straightforward as they appear to be.
"Common source has been redefined several times by our school, and the student handbook shows their lack of clarity, in a sense," an anonymous fraternity member says. "Birmingham-Southern College has started incorporating any distribution of alcohol, at all, even when the organization is not implicitly purchasing or distributing the alcohol. When one container of alcohol is handed to another person, that is affiliated with the organization, [and] that is [now defined as] common source."
Historically, the administration has always been opposed to common source alcohol, but punishments were varied due to a lack of precedent in the handbook. Greek conduct boards (made up of all 6 fraternity presidents, plus the Interfraternity Council [IFC] VP of Judiciary, IFC President, and Kyle Lo Porto) would hold hearings and hand out punishments as they saw fit. The new rule incorporates punishments for fraternities that serve common source, which includes losing three events and being put on probation for the remainder of the term and the next term for the first offense. If there is a probation violation, then there is a risk of the house being shutdown. It seems that one of the biggest changes for the fraternities is working with sororities to have them refuse common source and report it when they see it, a rule the presidents all agreed to adopt.
"It is a very tough situation since it is such a long history for certain events," Lo Porto says. "Everybody pledged to stop expecting it from sorority side of things and [for fraternities] to stop providing it."
From a risk management standpoint, there is a concern that banning common source alcohol at parties, like mixed drinks and beers, prevents organizations from controlling how much alcohol is being consumed at parties and makes it harder to cut people off. In addition, this ban may encourage activities like pre-gaming and bringing hard liquor into events. Furthermore, there is concern that the ban on common source simply will not stick and that it will get even further out of hand.
"The biggest problem is that there is a row mentality, where all six fraternities feed off each other in order to sustain the social image at BSC," the anonymous fraternity member says. "So if one frat decides to follow a certain policy, unless all the fraternities are also following, it will very likely hurt their social scene and not be a benefit to the greater Greek community."
Feature photo by jamesomalley via Flickr.
Incorporating a New Form of Payment into the BSC Community
Why was Rowdy Cash started?
Dr. David Eberhardt, VP of Student Development, explains, “There’s been a concern for a while that the college, by allowing a student to swipe their card to buy a t-shirt, was being a credit card company. The transaction process gets to the bookstore; the bookstore then sends it over to student accounts; [then], it gets put on your student account," Eberhardt says. "There was this really delayed process of when you’re getting something and when you’re purchasing it.”
How does Rowdy Cash work?
“Panther bucks are a declining balance that you have already paid for, and the college has paid to Aramark, so it really isn’t your money anymore. It’s just a balance that the college is essentially holding in your name,” Eberhardt clarifies. “The difference, now, is that it goes immediately to a student account of yours: your Rowdy cash account.”
Before Rowdy Cash, organizations mainly charged purchases to student accounts. Now, organizations are incorporating Square to use credit cards and are adding Venmo as a form of payment. Although student organizations will benefit in the long run, student organization leaders like Pi Beta Phi chapter president Samantha Grindell recognizes that there will be some growing pains before those benefits are reached.
“The challenge with Rowdy Cash is that people just don't have it. We can't make money off of the items we're selling if people don't have money to pay for them," Grindell says. "Rowdy Cash would work extremely well if people had it, but a lot of people aren't willing to put $100 into an account [if] they don't know they will use [it].”
The lack of students using Rowdy Cash is affecting the fundraiser and merchandise sales of practically all student organizations, including Relay for Life, the Harrison Honors Program, and the Art Students League. Dala Eloubeidi, President of Alpha Epsilon Delta, has seen Rowdy Cash affect what used to be her organization's staple fundraiser.
“AED usually raises close to $200 for our lemonade stand, but, this semester, we raised $25,” Eloubeidi says. “AED has decided to cancel the on-campus bake sale for Spirit of Luke. Instead, we have decided to raise money by hosting a percentage night at a local restaurant.”
What else should you know?
You can easily go onto the BSC website and use your credit card or debit card to add $50 or $100 to your Rowdy Cash account. Rowdy Cash rolls over until you graduate BSC, at which time it is refundable.
“People are just resistant to change, and the fact that the system wasn't easy to understand at first made it harder," Grindell says. "Once it becomes the norm, people won't even think about Rowdy Cash anymore because it'll be so ingrained in their BSC lives."
Feature photo via Micayla Edler.
Looking into the Legacy
The history of ‘Southern publications began before Birmingham-Southern College was even founded. Established in 1907 as Pegasus, the yearbook publication we now know as Southern Accent has a rich and versatile history.
Dr. Hagen, an English faculty member, Director of the Harrison Honors Program, and Associate Provost noted, “The format and content changes through the years have been largely dependent on who is editor.”
Pegasus included pages of class roll call, songs, officers, prayers, poems, comedy, editors, literary features, and advertisements. The interesting aspect of these early yearbook publications is that there are very few pictures and many stories and anecdotes about the college and its students and faculty.
Pegasus changed to Southron when Southern University was founded in 1914. This publication also contained club and organizational pictures, including newly founded fraternities. The Southron was soon split into more easily defined sections, depicting university activities and class photos.
Southron changed to Revue in 1919, adding facts about the history and attributes of Birmingham-Southern College. The Revue briefly changed to Gold and Black in 1921, and changed again to La Revue in 1922. A plethora of popular sections was added to the yearbook, including: Cosmos, Recreation Activities, Crosswords, Cartoons, Sororities, Action Snapshots, Who’s Who, Panhellenic, and the Hall of Shame, which was a section dedicated to humorous awards such as biggest bluff or most sedate. Pictures of BSC’s campus as it changed through the years were first featured in La Revue, as were dedications explaining the namesake of buildings such as Munger, Stockholm, Stephens Science Center, and the Planetarium.
La Revue was renamed Southern Accent in 1942. Around this time, the Miss Southern Accent pageant was founded along with a Beauties section in the yearbook. Then, in the 1970s, more pictures were added in color, and slowly the paragraphs of text faded away as Southern Accent developed.
The student newspaper is the second oldest ‘Southern publication and was founded in 1916 as Birmingham-College Reporter. The student newspaper’s name was changed to Gold and Black from 1919-1938 and was altered to traditional columns and novel columns.
Hilltop News was established in 1939 and was a staple at ‘Southern until 2014 when the name was changed to Bagheera. Hilltop News expanded to include more practical news and opinion sections such as Polls, Politics, Issues within the College, and Opportunities for Internships, Fellowships, and Jobs. At the time of the name change, Hilltop News was still an old-fashioned newspaper, but gradually the publication developed into the more magazine-like publication we see today.
“30 years ago, the editors of Hilltop News engaged in investigatory writing; they set out to find why [the school] did something,” Dr. Hagen said.
The Southern Academic Review (SAR) was founded in 1987 and contained long essay-formatted research pieces submitted by students. In 2011, SAR was briefly out of commission until 2014 when Dr. Hagen and her recruited Harrison Honors Scholars brought it back.
The literary magazine known as The Quad was founded in 1940. This publication published short stories, poems, art, and photography from students.
Dr. Hagen explained, “The Quad was developed because there was a need for a creative outlet that other publications such as the Southern Academic Review did not provide.”
The Compass, a leadership publication published through the Hess Center, was founded in 1999 and publishes essays chronicling leadership experiences written by students.
The Gloria, named after beloved art patron Gloria Spruill ’58, is the newest edition to publications here on the Hilltop. Gloria is the visual and performing arts magazine of Birmingham-Southern College. Featuring season previews for art, theatre, and music student performances, classes, and Jan-term experiences, this exciting new publication helps to bring the arts events of students, faculty, and alumni to the entire Hilltop family.
Feature photo via BSC Archives.