Mini happy hour lays groundwork for campus bar

By Heather Fabritze

News Co-Editor

In a new attempt to raise student morale, the school is taking the first few steps to re-create a community space in the form of Shoreline Socials. 

The Office of Student Engagement announced in an email on Monday, March 18 that its newest initiative, a “weekly wateringhole gathering” for the community, would have its first happy hour on Friday, March 22. From 4 to 7 p.m. at the end of every week, the faculty lounge will host an open bar for those over the age of 21. Anyone under 21 is still free to attend and mingle.

Shoreline Socials and the campus bar — the true reason behind the push for the event — were born out of a group presentation from the Presidential Fellows Leadership Summit this past January. Freshmen Zach Tipton and Elisabeth Braswell, sophomores Faith Poulton and Nyamekye Calloway, and junior Nick Scelfo presented their idea to build an on-campus bar named the Golden Goose to faculty, students, and administration.

The immediate reaction to their proposal was overwhelmingly positive. Director of Student Engagement Antoine Jordan ‘12 and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Tricia Biles both reached out almost immediately to state that they wanted to do more research on the idea.

Jordan and Biles both hoped that the implementation of a recurring event similar to a happy hour would improve the likelihood of one day building a fully operational bar like the one the group presented.

“As soon as I saw their presentation, I wanted to make sure that we had an opportunity to make something as close to the idea happen before the semester ended, and I’m thrilled that we’re able to meet that goal,” Jordan said.

President of the College Dr. Michael Sosulski also immediately expressed his interest in the concept to Tipton.

“He said that there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t have something like this be implemented over the next few years,” Tipton said.

A few weeks after the summit, Biles and Jordan once again reached out to Tipton to begin solidifying details on the happy hour event. He acted as an unofficial liaison between the administration and the interests of the students.

“I was largely involved in the planning process and coordinating with colleges on our peer institution list to see what [they] have — on-campus social bars or around-the-clock bars — and just different ways they manage it, run it, and what we can use to learn and support our model in the future,” Tipton said.

The group quickly developed a theme schedule for the remainder of this semester. The opening night event on March 22 included a game of bingo and two free drinks for every person who arrived. The following week, March 29, was a wine and paint collaboration with Cleopatra’s Sisters.

For future Fridays, a list of themes includes trivia, a co-sponsored event with EROS, an Earth Day night, and, for the grand finale before finals week, an open mic.

According to Tipton, the first bingo-themed event had a healthy turnout. Groups of students and faculty flowed in and out of the faculty lounge with both alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks in their hands, and conversation steadily filled the room.

“I noticed a lot of interaction with [faculty] and their students and I was able to interact with professors that I’ve had,” Tipton said. “It’s really nice to interact with them outside of the classroom. We just talked about things that aren’t necessarily academic-related, but more [related] to life.”

Looking forward to the future, Tipton hopes that the popularity of Shoreline Socials among the College’s various populations makes the possibility of a bar even greater.

“I think we have the space on campus, I think we have the support and the motivation behind students and faculty alike to have something like this open a couple evenings a week, and I think we have ways of being able to implement it,” Tipton said. “If we gather the support and show the numbers and participation this semester, that next year, we can start looking into continuing weekly happy hour but also beginning the process of implementing a set space that is functioning as a bar.”

Photo courtesy of Stephen Hook

In the faculty lounge, community members filled every seat.

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