Here's to Good Friends

Illustration: Christoph Hitz

When I was an undergrad in the early '90s, Stanford's culture regarding alcohol was pretty freewheeling. The frats threw huge parties every weekend where they served Everclear punch out of trashcans. We didn't sneak around the dorms concealing our beer cans or vodka bottles.

But there was one rule we all knew that we had to respect in order not to get busted: If there was booze at a party, there had to be EANABs.

EANABs meant "Equally Attractive Non-Alcoholic Beverages" in Stanford-speak. A party needed to offer not just water, but sparkling water, cranberry or orange juice, even nonalcoholic beer. The intention was to make nondrinkers feel supported and welcome at all on-campus events.

After I graduated, I continued this tradition of providing EANABs at parties I hosted. I felt I'd learned a valuable lesson at Stanford about inclusion. And indeed, years later, when I knew recovering alcoholics or when friends stopped drinking during pregnancy, I heard from them how much it meant to feel that they weren't being slighted or marginalized on the social scene.

So I was saddened to discover, while working at an event on campus with several current students, that the practice is no longer as common and that these undergrads didn't even know what EANABs were. I'm worried that the ethos of EANABs—respect everyone's choices—is gone along with the cranberry juice.

Here's a challenge: Maybe alumni of my vintage can spread the EANAB concept to the rest of the world. I'll raise my Shirley Temple and toast to that!

MeiMei Fox, '94, MA '95, formerly a social media manager for the Stanford Alumni Association, is a life coach and author who writes a column, "The Life Out Loud," for the Huffington Post.