For several nights this semester, Super Snack will be facing some competition. In an effort to extend weekend nights in hopes of reducing alcohol-related problems, Dining Services will try keeping Jack Magee's Grill open until 2 a.m. on select weekend nights.
According to Director of Dining Services Mary Lou Kennedy, the plan is to try the idea on three Saturday nights spread out across the course of this semester.
"One of the things I have heard over and over again is the compressed social time on the weekends," Director of Student Activities Allen Delong said.
Delong is a member of the recently-formed Alcohol Team (A-Team) and was partially responsible for extending the Grill's hours.
Kennedy noted that while the plan is appealing, it certainly has its drawbacks.
"For us [this] involved getting the staff to agree to work the overtime," Kennedy said. "They are already working 10-hour days, they're now going to work 12-hour days."
Dining Services Manager of Cash Operations and Student Employment Tricia Gipson said hiring students to work the additional time was extremely unlikely, as there has already been a shortage of students willing to work on Saturdays. In order to reduce clean-up time after 2 a.m., Gipson said there will be a very limited menu at the pub, but would include popular items such as pizza, chicken wings and breakfast burritos.
Kennedy said the implications of the plan extend to facilities, security and housekeeping departments, making it no small task. Kennedy said the idea of extending Super Snack's hours, which had been proposed, was not possible due to logistical reasons.
Gipson and Kennedy said after the trial period there will likely be a long conversation about how successful the extended grill nights were and whether it would be beneficial, given the cost, to continue them next year. Kennedy estimated that keeping the grill open until 2 a.m. once a week over the course of a year would cost $10,000 per year.
"Dining Service is such a tightly run ship and has such a high level of service, the goal is to have that same high level of service until 2 a.m.," Delong said. "Students will appreciate what comes out of this."
According to A-Team Co-Chair Jules Valenti '10, the Grill is not the only thing the group is doing to deal with the alcohol issue on campus. He said the other main focus will be on education.
"One campaign we're excited about is the 'Don't be that guy' campaign to get the message across," Valenti said. Valenti said they will be using prominent campus figures and student leaders in a variety of posters to discourage heavy drinking. Valenti said he believed the posters would be up within three weeks.
The action by the A-Team follows the first weekend this semester without an alcohol transport.
Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols was cautiously optimistic after the weekend.
"This past weekend went very well," Nichols said. "I had a better feel about this weekend than the weekend before, when it was almost eerily quiet. So this was a larger step toward normalcy."
Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster said he was less concerned with the number of alcohol transports than the overall safety of the campus.
"I'm glad we had a transport-free weekend, but I don't want to have a transport-free weekend because no one out there wants to be number 21 even if they've had too much to drink," he said.
After fewer than normal registered events over the past two weekends, Nichols, Foster and Valenti all felt it would be best if normalcy resumed in that regard.
"[Registered events] allow us to work as a team," Nichols said. "Unregistered events, by their very nature, are unmonitored, and there's actually greater risk for students running unregistered events."
Valenti said he thought the lack of College House parties has been somewhat of a problem.
"I think it would be good for the campus to resume its normal routine," Valenti said.
Nichols and Valenti both discussed the question of liability and believed the discussion surrounding liability to be a hot topic on campus.
"I think the decrease in house parties has been a direct result of people's sense of liability," Valenti said. "And they're fear of getting in trouble for hosting an event. People have been exaggerating the negative intent of BPD."
While Nichols understood students' concerns about liability, he said the decrease in registered events was in some ways counterproductive because students are most in danger at unregistered events.
"I think a real liability, for the individual student, is in the dorm room, where you've got multiple students shotgunning hard alcohol in a high risk manner," he said.
"For the most part, students are reasonable, level-headed kids," Valenti added. "I just ask that you stay that same kid on the weekends."
Foster said the increase in police presence was not an excuse for irresponsible drinking.
"It's too convenient for our community to say the enforcement is driving drinking underground," Foster said. "The reality is that people shouldn't be drinking to the point between a .19 and .33 BAC and need to be transported."
Nichols has said the tension on campus has caused several rumors to spread around the student body. In particular, rumors of two alcohol-related hospital transports this weekend and police officers doing rounds in first year dorms were false, Nichols said. Nichols said it was believed a first year mistook two Bowdoin Security officers as members of the Brunswick Police.
Nichols addressed the fact that Brunswick police officers continue to state there has not been an increase in enforcement this year, as was said last week in a meeting held at Quinby House.
"My feeling is that the presence and campus activity is higher," Nichols said. "That's my perception, if the police have a different perception I accept that, I'm not going to quibble over that."
"The police have used great judgment and discretion," Nichols added. "Part of the increased police presence on campus is they are accompanying Brunswick Rescue on these calls...having police on the street around campus is not a bad thing."