When imagining yourself sitting in a pub, soaking in the atmosphere, it is almost impossible not to feel a response from nearly all of your five senses. The ambience of such a place is genuine and rich.
You have the murmur of voices blending together in ongoing conversation over the sound of a familiar song or televised sporting event, the appetizing aroma of a pub burger drowning out the unfamiliar smells that permeate from strangers, and the transition of the ice cold beer from a cool glass to your salivating mouth. Of course, there are countless pubs that exist in this world that provide a less than stellar experience, but a well-run establishment holds the opportunity for a true human experience.
Many colleges and universities in America have pubs right on, or near campus that are directly affiliated with the school. It’s not only major Division 1 schools either, as Tufts, Vassar, and even Middlebury College have added school-affiliated pubs.
Castleton State College has long flirted with the idea of an on-campus pub, holding numerous pub-nights throughout the years.
When asked about the possibility of an on-campus pub, 21-year-old senior Daley Crowley echoed the cry of many other of-age Castleton students.
“I think it would be one of the smarter things Castleton could do. At this point, kids are just wondering around the streets and parties are getting busted and if there was a pub, or somewhere on campus or even near campus, kids would have a safe place where everyone could hang out.”
Students aren’t the only members of the Castleton State College community who have been pushing for such a place. Phil Lamy, a sociology professor at Castleton, has long been an advocate for bringing the pub-like atmosphere to campus life.
“Wouldn’t it be cool? To go back to the pub after a football game, see everybody, get a bight to eat, have a cold beer, enjoy each other’s company and then go home. All the while showing young people you can drink like adults,” Lamy said.
Drinking like adults is one of the unwritten staples of a college curriculum, and one that is often skipped over. In recent weeks, the Castleton community has been bombarded with alcohol-infused vandalism; behavior that he says would not be reflected in a pub environment.
“A pub on campus would be a way to control drinking behavior, a way to teach responsible drinking behavior. Have it out in the open and demonstrate to students that you can drink and be sociable without having to be drunk and obnoxious,” Lamy said.
Keith Molinari, the new director of Public Safety, has had his hands full with some of the irresponsible alcohol-related behavior from some of Castleton’s students. Despite the behavior from select individuals, Molinari believes that an on-campus pub could be an environment in which responsible consumption of alcohol occurs without a large need for surplus campus security.
“I would probably put an extra officer on, not necessarily for security but inherently there could be other issues. But I support it, I don’t think it’s a bad idea,” Molinari said.
The need for a place where students can go and practice responsible drinking is clear, but the idea of opening a permanent on-campus pub is one that holds a considerable amount of weight for a college or university to hold.
Jeff Weld, director of Marketing and Communications for the college, talked about the number “logistical hoops” the school would have to jump through in order make the pub a reality.
“I think that from a college standpoint, it’s not exactly where we see our funds best spent,” Weld said. “Promoting a pub night now and then is great and responsible drinking is certainly part of the college process, but I don’t see it being a priority of the college in terms of what we offer for student life.”
Weld said the harsh reality is funding is a vital part of this process.
Dennis Proulx, dean of Students, took a more business approach to the idea of a school-affiliated pub.
“The issue is you’re talking about establishing a business that can sustain itself. You need a business model that can pay the bills, or the college has to subsidize that,” Proulx said.
Although the reality of a permanent on-campus pub is one that is perhaps difficult to fathom at this point in time, Proulx is hoping that the Campus Activities Board will schedule some temporary “pub nights” allowing alcohol to be introduced on campus once again.
Campus Activities Board Director David Ievoli said plans are in the making for a few pub nights that will not only offer entertainment for 21-year olds, but students of all ages, given that only 19 percent of students at Castleton are of legal drinking age.
“Our hope is to benefit students of all ages. Specifically, we want to provide a place where kids can watch a sports game and enjoy drinks, alcoholic and non-alcohol as well as food,” Ievoli said.
“We would like to include CAB events with pub night and have poker tournaments, bingo, water pong tournaments, anything that will bring kids to late night events on campus.” Ievoli said. “The ideas are endless about what pub night can become.”