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The Reality of Blarney Blowout: 2022 Edition

Blarney, an age-old tradition of UMass students wreaking havoc and chaos on the local town of Amherst by throwing a two-day St. Patrick’s themed party. Students this year were exceptionally excited about the bender weekend, seeing as everyone has not been able to attend any large gatherings since the beginning of COVID-19. So, it begs the question: Did Blarney live up to all of the hype and expectations? Clearly, the day drinking events of this Irish celebration do not even compare to the Blarney in its heyday, but why? For years now the university has been on a mission to, let’s face it, end Blarney and whether or not you participated in the events you have to admit they went completely overkill this year. Students have been stripped of their college experience by a force out of their control, their social lives are utterly stunted, and sometimes kids just want to blow off steam. Instead of allowing people to have the slightest bit of leeway, overly policed streets, apartment complexes, and bars were a minefield for college kids just looking to have fun. It is easy to point to Blarney and make an example of the event, especially when the administration’s sole mission is to obliterate the university’s old reputation of “Zoomass,” but are students allowed to have any fun? 

This year in particular events were heavily patrolled. Off-campus housing including Puffton, Hobart, and the Townhouses all received warnings about hosting any celebratory events. As a resident of Puffton, we were cautioned that if we had any furniture outside it would be disposed of and that if we had any Blarney parties in our apartments we could face eviction. That kind of notice is going to scare everyone. As a direct result of their efforts to curb underage drinking and huge mass partying people were injured. People in the townhouses were so spooked to let people into their quad, partygoers were faced with a decision. They can either go home or attempt to climb a metal fence with iron spikes at the top; an easy choice for a drunk college student. After some serious injury and bloodshed, police actually unlocked the gates to the quads themselves and allowed for kids to go in, just to avoid any more harm. It seems to me that if a simple warning was posted instead of an eviction level threat letter it might not have had to come to those dire straits. 

People need to be safe and sometimes things get out of hand, but it seems to me that every full student event this year has been restricted in some way under the thinly veiled disguise of increasing COVID-19 cases… even when our numbers are going down. What the administration fails to realize is that a good portion of the UMass Amherst students today isn’t like their decades-old counterparts. UMass is a competitive school to get into now and test scores and grade point averages to be admitted are insanely higher. Students today genuinely care about their education and their future. Of course, there are always outliers, but I don’t think it’s wrong to assume that most kids aren’t at college just as an excuse to party. If that was the case, explain how all the study rooms in the library are always booked.

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Emma Keane

U Mass Amherst '23

Emma is a Junior this year at Umass Amherst. She is in her second semester of Her Campus and loves it. She is happy she made the decision to get back into reading and writing. In her free time, she likes to hang with friends, jam to Post Malone, and tan on the beach until sunset.
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