Not Sloshed During Frosh

Make Frosh Accessible and Inclusive

Graphic Graeme Shorten Adams

Frosh week presents an interesting dilemma to some Concordia students.

As the new academic year begins, individual faculties gear up for their respective Frosh weeks, intended to allow first-year students to meet new people, make new friends and have fun by participating in different activities.

Activities include the likes of barbeques, club nights and parties, forcing some to wonder how to participate in all of these activities while at the same time respecting their religious views. Many Muslim students in particular find themselves facing this question.

In recent years, Frosh has turned into a week known for its parties and alcohol, when it should be known as a time to make friends, get acquainted to university life and most importantly to have fun—for all first-year students and those transferring to a new faculty.

Islamic laws, as stated in the Qur’an, prohibit alcohol consumption. Along with gambling, alcohol is seen as an intoxicant—both are considered to be “abominations of Satan intending to turn people against God,” (Surah 5, Ayat 90). The only time a Muslim can drink alcohol is when they are starving or dying of thirst.

To understand Frosh in the context of Islam, there are some principles that must be explained. Islam doesn’t separate the spiritual world from the secular—the values stated in the Qur’an are represented as a link between both, and there are certain principles that are placed on every Muslim. According to the Qur’an, everyone uses their intellect to guide their behaviour in society. In the eyes of God, each individual is accountable for his or her actions.

I plan to attend some of the Frosh activities during the first week of school, but I will not be drinking åalcohol at any of these events. It is a personal choice that I have made to never drink alcohol—religion is the main reason why, but the effects of alcohol and the consequences from drinking have convinced me that it’s not worth it. While I understand that it is Frosh and it is supposed to be a time to have fun, I cannot ignore the rules stated in the Qur’an just because of the time of year. Islam is not just a religion, it’s a way of life, and that’s why the values stated in the Qur’an serve as a link between the secular and spiritual.

While simply not drinking at Frosh events is one way to participate while still staying true to your religion, there are also a few ways that faculties could change their individual Frosh events so to make them inclusive for everyone. The CSU has managed to create an Orientation that does not focus so heavily on drinking, and faculties could look at how other universities have been able to curb alcohol consumption. At McGill, an array of Frosh events are hosted, ranging from Muslim Frosh to Rad Frosh. These options help include people who do not want to drink alcohol but who still wish to participate in Frosh. CUSA, the student association at Carleton University in Ottawa, hosts a dry Frosh, meaning that students can participate without consuming alcohol.

At Concordia, faculties that hold Frosh events could work with clubs like the Muslim Students Association as well as other religious clubs to create events that balance out the activities that include alcohol with activities that are more suited to Muslim students and others who are uninterested in alcohol. That way, everyone is able to enjoy Frosh without being enticed or pressured into doing something they do not want to do. Binge drinking is also a serious problem during events like Frosh—a problem that will not be resolved if the individual faculties do not do their part to reduce alcohol-related activities.

There is nothing wrong with participating in Frosh. But a Frosh that respects everyone’s religious views is a better Frosh for all.