With beers in hand, feet tapping the floor, and heads nodding to the bongos, students clearly were enjoying the latest Pub Night. And being open mic night, the flare of diverse talent accented this effort to show that responsible drinking can be done on campus.
Katie Diemer and two others working along side her have a goal – to have a permanent pub on campus. The pub, they say, would ideally be in a separate location other that the Alumni room in Huden, where the event is held now to do alcohol license restrictions.
These restrictions limited alcoholic events to the president’s house and the alumni room in Huden. Even when events are held, a representative from Aramark must obtain permission from the town Select Board.
However, this policy was recently altered to allow alcohol in all of Huden’s rooms, citing a future potential for a permanent pub. Some feel that this could cause a rift between the community and Castleton.
“If the community actually involved themselves, they would see and not assume that it’s not about drinking, it’s about community where we can socialize together. It’s a place where we can go,” said Diemer.
The pub nights spawned from a senior seminar sociology class and a discussion of community issues. The theory is that there are three places in our lives: home, work/school and community. Studies have shown that many people, especially young people don’t have that third place. Sociology professor Phil Lamy said that this breaches culture and country.
“America is loosing its community,” Lamy said noting that there are fewer places where people can congregate.
But whether their efforts can culminate in permanent campus pub remain to be seen.
“A pub’s not only for students, but for faculty as well to create a better community . There are people in your class that you don’t hang with,” said Diemer expressing her irritation with the lack of hang out spots for students.
Many students at the latest Pub Night support the idea.
“I think it’s a good idea for older students,” said Bailee Bishop.
The 21-year-old senior said a pub would bring in large revenue for the college and said that with a pub or not, some students will still abuse alcohol.
But she said that a campus pub might cause a decrease in off campus bars essentially eliminating the possibility of drunk driving.
“Hey we don’t have to drive,” said Bishop.
Catherine Eddy, also a 21-year-old senior, feels that the current Pub Night events need to be more coordinated.
“They should advertise better (e-mails) if they want people to come – and get better music,” said Eddy.
Eddy said that she felt students are scared to come because of the events campus location and the presence of administrators.
Mike Lefebore agreed.
“I thought it would be a lot busier,” said Lefebore, who said he supports the proposed Pub. “A pub gets people to drink on campus potentially avoiding them from making bad decisions,” said Lefebore, who also drives for Safe Ride.
But it’s not only students who like the pub idea, as Aramark employee Penny Lanpher points out.
“A great idea! Its getting everyone out to have a good time and keeping us from driving you home,” said Lanpher. “As long as things go to plan, I don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t have a pub,” said Lanpher.
Faculty members present at the latest pub night, like sociology professor Gary Kruml, talked with students, exchanged laughs and pondered the what-ifs of a permanent campus pub.
Kruml applauds the pub night efforts and said he supports a permanent pub.
“I think of students as responsible adults and it would be nice to see a place and nice to see something like this becoming constant,” said Kruml.
And not every student goes to the ‘pub’ event to drink. While students like senior Brian Paquette don’t drink, they see some advantages to a campus pub.
“I like it because it’s laid back and it’s safer. Even though there’s Safe Ride, a lot of students just don’t use it for whatever reason,” said Paquette.
Katie Diemer isn’t the only student working on this project. Senior Joe Zeitler is a part of the same senior seminar class project.
Zeitler said he’s aware not everyone is happy with the idea of a permanent pub and said an upcoming forum on the topic will be perfect for those people to express their concerns.
“We are never going to get everyone in agreement, for that reason we want to hold a community forum,” said Zeitler.
Lamy’s previous classes have created projects in the past, including the Coffee Cottage began when President Wolk first came to Castleton.
“That, as everyone can see was successful and we want to do it again,” said Lamy
Lamy said the problem is that Pub Night isn’t a “place,” it’s just an event right now. He said it needs to be a place, preferably in the Spartan room in Huden.
Lamy and his class are holding a forum mid semester and is hoping to have the pub up and running by the beginning of the next academic year.