By Robert Yaniz Jr.
It’s no secret that there’s a strong correlation between college students and alcoholic beverages. After all, keg parties and beer pong have been considered an integral part of the college experience for decades, as evidenced by movies like Animal House. However, the University is about to take this association to a new level with the opening of the new and improved Marshall Center this fall.
In addition to much-needed space for student organizations and on-campus social events, the new Marshall Center will feature a Beef O’ Brady’s. This latest addition to USF Dining will serve alcoholic beverages, and while some students would welcome the prospect of sharing a beer or two – or three – with their closest pals after class, this project could have devastating effects.
Student drinking is already enough of a problem, especially with venues like the UA Hangout and the Bulls Club located minutes from campus. After all, even the former student body president fell victim to alcohol-related charges last fall. An on-campus Beef O’Brady’s will only exacerbate this issue by making alcoholic beverages more accessible to students – both underage and not.
Perhaps the logic here is that alcoholic beverages on campus would reduce potential drunk driving incidents for resident students. However, the school is widely considered a commuter school, according to collegeboard.com. Therefore, any reduction in drunk driving resulting from on-campus consumption would be negligible. Short of creating a livelier social environment, the benefits of on-campus alcohol are non-existent.
The true beneficiary of this addition is the administration, as this move makes its priorities quite explicit. Although an on-campus Beef O’ Brady’s is certain to be a cash cow for the University, the powers that be need to get the dollar signs out of their eyes and recognize the potential harm that providing alcohol on-campus could have on the student body. If the University truly cares about students’ well-being, it will reconsider this proposal before it’s too late.
By Robin Roup
A college campus should act like a miniature town for its residents – after a long week of classes students should be able to head to the student union for a couple drinks.
If you and some friends want to go out for drinks, you have two viable choices: play rock-paper-scissors to decide who will be the designated driver or go to the liquor store and bring the goods back to your place.
That will be changing in the fall when the new Marshall Center is scheduled to open. The new building will include a Beef O’Brady’s sports pub. The pub will feature a dining area, billiards, darts and a stage for live entertainment such as open-mic nights, said Susan Smith, project manager.
While some people may be worried that the new student union will be serving alcohol, they may also be unaware that USF used to be home to a similar establishment. From the 1970s to the mid 1990s, the Empty Keg was located in the basement of the student union. It was a pizza joint that served alcohol and a popular place for students to hangout, watch sporting events or local bands perform, according to USF undergraduate catalogs of those years.
USF has been trying to lose its reputation of being a commuter campus with the University’s five-year plan in seeking to join the prominent and exclusive Association of American Universities. A proposal that would require traditional freshmen to live on campus, unless they are residents of Hillsborough, Pinellas or Pasco counties, was brought to the Board of Trustees workgroup in November, according to the minutes of the Nov. 6, 2007 meeting.
With more students living on campus, and the continued success of the Bulls football team, campus could be on its way to becoming the place to be. By adding this casual dining restaurant to the new Marshall Center, it gives resident students one less reason to leave campus.
There are some nights that you just cannot eat another meal from Argos or Andros. With this new addition in the student union, students can find fine dining right on campus. And with the fine dining, students of legal drinking age can get a nice pint of beer – something they’ll never find on the buffet line.
In Gainesville, the University of Florida acts as the heart of the city. The college brings economic development to the city, and all the local businesses are built around the campus, usually within walking distance.
In cities where the colleges aren’t the sole focus, the campuses need to become a self-sufficient entity if they do not want to be viewed as a commuter campus. If most necessities and activities were offered on-campus for students, living on campus would become more attractive.
While living on campus freshmen year, I noticed that on weekends the campus would turn into a ghost town, aside from Greek Village, or on game days. This casual dining sports pub, along with extended student hangout and dining areas, will fill the void in the campus weekend social life by giving students more places to hangout and socialize.
If you have visited many of the popular bars near campus, you too have been exposed to the overcrowded, nightclub atmosphere, complete with the nauseating scent of body odor mixed with secondhand smoke.
This new on-campus sports pub will provide a more relaxed atmosphere for students who want to socialize and have a few drinks in a less crowded, but still communal, environment.
When students go off campus to drink, there is a much greater chance that they will be driving while intoxicated, and therefore putting themselves – and others – in danger. With the new on-campus sports bar, students can walk back to their dorm or call on the SAFE Team, whose office will be conveniently located next to the restaurant.
USF’s campus is not a dry campus, which means that students who are 21 years or older can have alcohol in their dorm rooms. Students should be able to take advantage of this, and be able to drink in a nice pub setting without leaving campus.