As the weather gets chillier, there is a greater necessity for warm drinks: hot chocolate, steaming coffee or soothing tea, to name a few. However, as the temperature drops, there is a question to be asked: is it still appropriate to enjoy a nice iced drink? On Willamette’s campus, the consensus reveals more than just students’ beverage preferences; it’s telling of a greater inclination towards expressing yourself and liking what and who you like.
I had many brief conversations with various Bearcats about their thoughts on iced drinks in the winter season, and many of them didn’t have an opinion, which stood out to me. What are the odds that every student stopped and asked didn’t have a preference of whether they viewed it acceptable or not to enjoy a chilly drink in subpar weather? These responses, though they make for a lame argument about hot and cold drinks, are a picture-perfect reflection of the open community on campus.
Willamette has built a culture around being yourself and liking things unapologetically, as evidenced by the responses of the students interviewed. This unwritten societal rule applies to dress, academic interests, activism, music and hobbies, as well as many other categories of self-identification.
Drinking an iced drink in the wintertime, though it can make for chilly fingers and the necessity for extra blankets, is something that many people enjoy. Some students elaborated on why they like iced drinks, claiming that they preferred how cold drinks such as iced coffee taste compared to their hot counterparts: “I love the taste of iced drinks. Always. They’re my favorite,” said Cassie Thomas (‘27).
Of all the students interviewed, almost all of them said that they viewed iced drinks as a symbol of LGBTQ+ culture. Willamette has a thriving LGBTQ+ community, much due to the openness of its students. As previously mentioned, campus culture at Willamette is teeming with love and passion for learning, discovering and pursuing. Students are encouraged by teachers and peers to explore different parts of their identity, and for some, this is the first time they have been able to be open about their sexuality or gender orientation.
For many students, having iced drinks in the winter is representative of a larger willingness to bend the rules. Iced drinks in winter break a norm, and for many of those who identify under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, breaking norms is something that they are used to.
Specifically at Willamette, there is solidarity, a welcome mat on the doorstep of self-discovery. “Come inside,” the university says. “You are safe here!” Students are not concerned with who wants to drink a certain drink at a particular time of year. The answers to my initial survey, at their heart, reflect the unapologetic LGBTQ+ identity that weaves its way through campus. Iced drinks are not seen as an exclusively warm-weather treat, rather they are openly enjoyed all year round at Willamette because students aren’t afraid to show our community what they like, even if it goes against the norm.