Here’s a question: if Western has traditionally been labeled a “party school,” then why are we barely breaking the “Top 10” list on a Canadian Facebook poll?
A Facebook group owned by Molson Canada is running the Molson Campus Challenge, which is a listing of the “Top 10 Party Schools.”
The group currently has Western ranked eighth, behind Carleton University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Victoria.
The lead position is held by Memorial University of Newfoundland.
“I don’t think [the list] is accurate,” said Richard Cuttler, president of the Purple Spur Society.
The Purple Spur Society is a social club that, among other things, “offers the opportunity to party the Western way.”
When asked why the Purple Spur avoided being more active in promoting Western’s partying on the Internet, Cuttler explained corporate sponsorship was an issue.
“[The Purple Spur] tries not to take part in competitions for corporations,” Cuttler said, explaining the various trips the Purple Spur takes over the year will have a corporate sponsor, but will also benefit either the members of the Purple Spur or Western as a whole.
The Facebook group “Molson Canadian Nation,” sponsored by the beer company, has come under fire by members of the group for various issues — most of which deal with the ranking of their respective schools.
Cuttler agreed. “I haven’t been to [all the schools on the Top 10], but there are some schools that should be on there, like McGill and Queen’s.”
Though the contest rules state it is the number of “party photos” uploaded by group members that determines the ranking of the school, because of certain legal restrictions, McGill University and other Quebec universities have been excluded from the competition.
Yet some universities may not even want to be part of the competition. With recent incidents at various campuses requiring police involvement, including the incidents at Fleming Drive and Queen’s Homecoming, concern has been raised with school image.
“Party school is a very narrow definition of what we believe to be the best student experience in the country,” Ted Garrard, vice-president external at Western, said.
“When we talk to students, alumni and the public we emphasize [Western] has both an in-class component but also a great social experience ... social experience means many different things.
“It means having great student government and opportunities to involve yourself in that, along with clubs, organizations, and the opportunity to involve yourself in varsity sport. It’s the opportunity to build great networks because so many of our students live on campus.
“Do we downplay drinking and parties and the like? There are more important things to the student experience than just partying and drinking,” Garrard added.
Unfortunately, Molson was unable to be reached for comment about the effect the Molson Campus Challenge could have on universities.