Originally Posted on the Columbia Chronicle April 21, 2014
Many college students sneak alcohol past residence hall security guards and cover the vents in their dorm rooms to contain the smell of weed on the weekend, but within that haze is a group of students who do not indulge in such weekend festivities—the straight edge students.
Straight edge describes someone who chooses not to smoke, drink or do drugs. Some also practice vegetarianism and refrain from engaging in promiscuous sex. The movement emerged from the Washington, D.C. punk-rock scene in the early ‘80s, said Ross Haenfler, professor of sociology at the University of Mississippi and author of “Straight Edge: Hardcore Punk, Clean-Living Youth, and Social Change.”
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“There were a number of kids involved in that scene who liked the ‘question everything’ mentality of punk-rock—they liked the music, they liked the intensity, but they weren’t into the heavy drinking, drug use [and] random sexual encounters that were going along with punk,” Haenfler said.
Straightedge at Columbia formed as a student group about a year ago and currently has 76 online members. Kelsey Holt, founder of Straightedge at Columbia, said it is in the process of becoming a recognized Columbia organization in time for the fall semester, noting that the group frequently holds meetings on campus.
“I think it would be really cool to do an activism thing,” Holt said. “It would be great to raise awareness about sobriety, and if you’re struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, [offer information about] where can you go to find help.”
The straight edge lifestyle is a practical option for people who are uncomfortable with peer pressures to smoke, drink or do drugs. Sarah Pilotte, a sophomore business & entrepreneurship major and a member of Straightedge at Columbia, said she decided to be straight edge as a commitment to healthy living.
Read the the rest of the article here: The Columbia Chronicle: Life on the Edge
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