John Harp Jim Parsons Michelle Norton
It's official. "Houston's hottest new college magazine" has landed on racks across the UH campus. It's called Study Breaks, and the first issue came out last week. It's published by a company out of Austin, but a Houston staff is supposed to keep UH and Rice students up on what's entertainment for college kids.
The magazine's welcome message proclaims that "U of H and Rice now join the ranks of UT, A&M, SWT (Southwest Texas State) and UNT (University of North Texas) ... that have their own editions of Study Breaks."
"Great," you're thinking, "we've finally made it into the big time. Now we've got something to brag about when we go to San Marcos."
But look more closely. We were pretty surprised at what we found inside the magazine. The first story spread, a "Student Survival Guide," begins with two articles about how to throw the perfect party. The article details exactly how much a keg of beer costs and just how it should be set up. Then it gives us the inside scoop on making a rum/vodka-spiked punch in a trash can or bathtub. Directions on how to make Jell-O shots and liquor-soaked fruit are also included. Fortunately, the survival guide also tells readers what to do when the party's over. "Make sure to check the rooms for pukers and sex maniacs," it warns.
Now, we don't want anyone to think that we're jealous that a new publication is available to the UH community. Journalists, more than anyone, are always excited to have more to read.
And yes, Study Breaks also includes some helpful and well-done articles on money management and house-cleaning. But the "survival guide" in this issue seems little more than a quick guide on how to throw a party, get really smashed and wind up with drunk people having sex and vomiting randomly around your house.
What is more, the magazine's list of future stories mentions a feature in the works in which a student would go undercover as a stripper. "We need you to take on the role of a stripper and tell us everything that goes on from the interview process, and all the details from beginning to end. (sic) The side bar will be what the clubs' names show up on credit card statements ... and an explanation for parents when they receive their credit card statements," the editorial memo says.
Come on. This kind of magazine may be fine for UT and SWT, but for UH? We are a nontraditional university, and because of that, we'd like to think we have more responsible students. We hope students will show responsibility in whatever kind of partying they choose, and we hope Study Breaks will understand that UH is more than just a "party school."