That insanity you pulled off at the Keene Pumpkin Festival? You are only hurting yourselves.
Flickr - Chris Schrier

I get it. You love to get drunk, get wild and feel like you are king of the world. All of the movies that you watched about college told you that the number one priority in higher education is pulling off the most epic parties and shenanigans. I bet you think the campus and the city is your little playground.

The riots at the Keene Pumpkin Festival over the weekend are proof that you need a reality check.

I have visited Keene Pumpkin Festival almost every year since I was a freshman in college, and had a great time without any destruction. It was a perfect time to celebrate fall and enjoy my college years New England-style.

You on the other hand stormed through a city that has given so much to students and decided the best way to repay it was to light fires, damage property and flip over cars.

Some of you who participated in this mayhem came as visitors, but many of you were students destroying your own home. What you don’t realize is that all of that mayhem is just going to hurt you in the end.

Attending a four-year college is a huge investment of time and money. Every single Keene State student involved in the riots apparently doesn’t care about getting a good return on that investment. Your actions over the weekend have devalued the school that you chose to spend your (or your parents’) hard-earned money on.

I went to college here in New Hampshire and I know just how great of a place it is for students. But what are talented college-bound teenagers outside of the state going to think when they see videos of you throwing bottles and lighting fires in your own city? Is that really the school they want to go to?

The money you put into the school will shift away from enhancing its educational offerings and go towards public relations and damage control. Thousands of prospective students may have their minds changed and the school you invested in will suffer because of it.

Your actions have hurt the reputation of Keene State and that can translate into drops in enrollment and funding. A school’s standing in the eyes of the public is everything, and hurting that reputation means that your diploma will mean just a little bit less. Not the kind of thing you want against you in a recovering job market.

College cities already have enough trouble  maintaining a healthy relationship between the student and residential population. You think things will get any easier after you trashed their streets? You gave Keene a black eye and future students will have to bear the consequences.

The use of force by police officers has been a national topic ever since Ferguson, and you showed the world that there is a reason for them to put on that riot gear. This is the city that wanted a tank and other over-the-top equipment to handle Pumpkin Festival. Thanks a lot for making all that nonsense more credible in the eyes of the public.

I offer a load of props to all of those who attend Keene State College and didn’t join in the riots. Even more for the ones who chose to clean up the mess and show the public that there are so many more students looking to make their school a better place. All of you reading this deserve your place in higher education.

Yet this letter is not for those students. The scorn that is aimed at the school should be directed at the idiots who were trying to be “anti-establishment” or watched one too many Van Wilder movies. These immature individuals should pack up their bags and go home because they still have some growing up to do.

It seems that these students should learn how to be adults before they even attempt to earn a degree.

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