I first came to San Marcos in 1999 as a transfer student to SWT. That’s back when a student could get a really good debauch on. I must have been one of the seemingly few people in the world to not know about the ‘party school’ reputation, but I quickly bought into it. It was hard not to when 18 year olds were getting hammered in the courtyard of my dorm with impunity.Before I took an extended, ill advised, hiatus from school things started to change. Parties were busted with more regularity than before. Not so many beer cans were piling up in the courtyard. Things quickly went from “Laissez bon temp roulez”, to “Veni, vidi, vici” before you could say, “What in the hell is he talking about?”
Oblique witticisms aside, as far as the community was concerned, enough was enough.
Of course this did not go over well with the student body. The more politically savvy students wanted to express their pleasure at the ballot box over the crackdown, but back then they would have had to stay in town over the break to do so. Relations between the students and the city experienced a definite chill. Tensions were running high and I wasn’t exactly sorry to leave.
Fast forward to four years later. After yanking my head out of my posterior region and realizing that quitting school wasn’t my smartest move, I re-enrolled and came back to a very different campus. Students were starting, albeit grudgingly, to admit that maybe their off-campus neighbors had a point. Don’t get me wrong. Parties still happened, Sagewood was still, well, Sagewood, and we still did (and do) dumb things, but the misplaced “Up against the wall (expletive deleted)” attitude was much less prevalent.
That’s why I’m glad to see things like the recent Achieving Community Together efforts start to take root. It’s actual progress.
Some out there would question the impact of a small thing like this. It seems only symbolic; a walk though North LBJ and Sagewood just talking to people. However, it would have been laughable, or at least poorly received in the bad old days by a sullen, apathetic student body and a justifiably angry community.
Yet it is in the small symbolic things that real solutions start to develop sometimes. For it to really take root though it needs to keep building on this foundation, and that’s going to take some work on both sides.
There’s one constant to being a student, and that’s pressure. Pressure to meet expectations. Pressure to make good grades. Pressure to keep the parents who are footing the bill happy, or just good old-fashioned all-purpose pressure. Can you blame us for wanting to let off some steam every now and then? It’s college. There will be, from time to time, a party. The only way San Marcos might be 100% party free is if the school gets magically teleported to some other part of the state, and even then I wouldn’t bet on it. So, when said party happens it isn’t the end of the world.
I’m not addressing that to the neighbors that happen to live next to his hypothetical party. Too loud is too loud and that’s just it. You have every right to complain. Rather, this is directed at those in the community who are somehow affected from across town that begin to beat the war drums and blame all of the city’s ills on “those students”. That really doesn’t help.
On the other hand, my fellow Bobcats, maybe throwing a huge kegger on a Wednesday night is not the best way to make friends with the neighbors. And yes…you really should make friends with them. By and large you’re here for four or five years, and only 2 of those are probably going to be off-campus. You don’t have to fight for your right to party. In fact I’m not sure a right to party even exists. It’s more of a privilege. If you don’t believe that I have some choice stories from the start of the decade I could share with you.
In short, don’t be jerks. Don’t turn the music up to eleven. Don’t have 50 “friends” over. Most of all don’t ignore your neighbor who has to be up at 6 AM to be at work on time when they ask you to turn it down or wrap it up for the night. When they inevitably call the cops, you only have yourself to blame.
The best way to avoid needless confrontation is by keeping an open and honest dialog, and the ACT efforts are a great start. I hope they continue and are expanded on. The more we draw a line between the campus and the community means the less both sides can enjoy the resources a place like Texas State and a town like San Marcos have to offer to each other.
By SEAN WARDWELL