by Julia Ernst
Thursday Pub nights are once again for those 21 and older.
Jon Chebra, vice president of the Lawrenceville campus Student Government Association (SGA), formally announced the change at this week’s Senate meeting.
“Effective this Thursday, the Pub will be 21 and up,” he said. “Fridays will be, as always, 18 to enter, 21 to drink.”
This new policy came as a result of overcrowding this semester on Thursday nights at the Pub, which were changed to “18 to enter, 21 to drink” at the end of last semester.
“Pub nights were made 18 and older on Thursday and Friday nights as a result of the Alcohol Task Force,” Chebra said, referring to the committee formed last year to evaluate and re-structure alcohol policies and practices. After they released a list of recommendations at the end of last semester, the Alcohol Policy was revised and new initiatives were started, including new Pub nights.
The new Thursday Pub nights were very well-attended, but they left some students waiting in line for hours before getting in, and some students didn’t get in at all. Debbie Stasolla, associate vice president for planning, discussed this as an impetus for change.
“Thursday nights at the Pub have become very popular, which is a good thing,” Stasolla said. “However, we can only accommodate 150 people at any given time. The current demand is much greater on Thursday nights. This led to long lines and long waits, up to an hour or more, to get into the Pub on Thursdays.”
Chebra said that in addition to frustration from students about the long waits, other concerns led to this new policy.
“It has turned into an unsafe atmosphere,” Chebra said. “It’s a fire safety hazard and a public safety hazard.”
Before the final decision was made, several other ideas about how to change Thursday nights were discussed. Ideas included making Thursday nights a junior/senior class night or a 20- and 21-year-old night. However, Stasolla explained that the latter option did not fix one of the problems with crowded Thursday nights: staffing.
“A 20/21-plus night is still a mixed age night that would require the same level of staffing as an 18 to enter, 21 to drink night, given that some can drink lawfully while others cannot,” Stasolla said.
The change in rules for Thursday nights means that underage students will now be closed out of the Pub, which the administration considered when making the decision.
“This Thursday, we are offering a special Halloween edition of Bronc Bingo,” Stasolla said. “We’re currently working on a dance-type venue for future Thursday evenings.”
Talk has begun between administration, SGA and students to put together an alternative option for students who are not of age on Thursday nights.
“We’re going to try to create another outlet for those who are underage,” said Dean of Students Anthony Campbell. “Different options are now under consideration for where to have that. We want to find the right venue to have the right capacity for students and use our staff efficiently.”
Nick Barbati, coordinator of campus activities, discussed both the issues that were occurring with the 18 to enter, 21 to drink Thursday nights, as well as what is now being planned as an alternative for those students who are underage.
“With the fire code that we have to maintain, we couldn’t handle the capacity that was coming out on Thursday nights,” Barbati said. “We have every intention of finding a place for 18- to 20-year-olds to go on Thursday nights that they look forward to.”
Barbati also mentioned the ideas for where to have this new Thursday night event.
“The space that we’re primarily looking at is the new banquet room in Daly’s,” he said, referring to the new addition that was built where the patio used to be in the campus dining hall.
Students, both those who are 21 and those who are underage, didn’t really seem to think that a great solution to the overcrowding problem had been found.
“Pub Night should not be an age-oriented thing because there’s an age difference in all the classes,” said sophomore Zalak Raval. “If I’m 18 and all of my classmates are 21, what do I do? It should be a class-oriented event, like just for sophomores and juniors one night and seniors another night.”
Senior Steve Trainor, 21, who was frustrated by the original problem of such large crowds on 18 to enter, 21 to drink Pub nights, feels that the new Thursday night rule doesn’t necessarily fix the problem.
“I feel like separating two different huge events on one night is going to spread Public Safety thin,” he said. “I think it’s going to cause more issues than just the Pub would, but I think they should have tried other things with the Pub first, like two different lines, or for every certain number of 21-year-olds that get in, a certain number of underage kids get in. They should have tested more things out at the Pub rather than just abandoning the Pub for underage kids.”
Glen Binger, also 21 and a senior, agreed with Trainor that a better solution to the underlying problem could have been found.
“I think that they took a drastic measure, trying to do it as fast as they could, but I can’t really say anything until I go,” Binger said. “I have to see what it is like. I know a lot of people went just to hang out with their friends who weren’t 21. I think they just need to moderate how many 18-year-olds they let in, because the 21-year-olds are the ones making them money. I would say let ‘x’ number of 18- to 20-year-olds in and let the rest be 21-year-olds.”