Limited options force students off campus
Calhoun Lofts is an on-campus housing area consisting mainly of students 21 and older. There is a convenience store within the building, yet despite all of the of-age students, it doesn’t sell alcohol or cigarettes.
It seems to make no sense, considering the nearby University Center sells cigarettes in its convenience store and beer in its basement arcade and bowling alley. The convenience store should consider getting a license to sell alcohol for several reasons.
If the store sold alcohol, they would be the only store on campus to offer the convenience of buying beer that one could take home, while being located in the same building that houses many students legally eligible to buy alcohol.
The convenience would definitely attract of-age students living on campus, and the profits could be substantial. If students could purchase alcohol on campus, they would be less likely to go the nearest stores in surrounding neighborhoods with higher crime rates.
One might say that selling alcohol in a convenience store on campus may contribute to drunkenness and disorderly conduct or jeopardize campus safety in general, but it would likely do the opposite. After all, there are many spots already available on and around campus that provide vast quantities of alcohol for decent prices.
For example, China Star, a Chinese restaurant located across the street from the Lofts, serves pitchers for less than $10. The Den, down Calhoun Road, is open until early in the morning and has daily drink specials. The Conrad Hilton College has a full bar in its restaurant also open late.
If students who don’t want to drive to surrounding neighborhoods — or those who don’t have cars — are forced to drink in designated areas around campus when they could have simply drank some beer in the safety of their apartment, the chances of a drunk-driving incident are increased.
In the middle of Third Ward, students shouldn’t be required to venture out for much. UH needs to keep this in mind.
As far as moral issues the store may face for selling alchol, one should remember that many places ran by the University already sell cigarettes and alcohol. It isn’t too far-fetched to consider a convenience store in a building of drinking-age students can too, especially when several alternative options to get alcohol are within short walking distance.
Many would say the more responsible option is for a student to drink in their place of residence so that they don’t bother anyone or get in trouble.
Some might counter this and say they would just have more potential to be inebriated in their rooms, but that wouldn’t be worse than being in public or outside on university property where the potential to get in trouble with the police or involved in dangerous activity is much higher.
The only thing that would change if the Calhoun Lofts convenience store started selling alcohol would be the number of students entering dangerous sections of town.
Campus residents are already drinking, and there will be no surge of crime if it’s available at the store. Having a convenience store that sells alcohol on campus may have its downfalls, but it seems the perks outweigh the cons.
It would give students who already plan on drinking more options, and — most importantly — safer options.
Jacob Patterson is a business senior and may be reached at [email protected]