What Bucknell's Venues Could Be - An Opinion Piece

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We go to an absolutely amazing school. We pay $54,000+ a year for an outstanding education, and the school uses a chunk of that tuition to fund certain campus activities. The university tries to promote activities that don’t involve alcohol to try and discourage underage drinking, which is very understandable. However, I believe there are several issues with the system that could be dealt with in such a way as to appease both students and faculty. In the following article, I’ll discuss venues that are utilized on campus, Uptown and 7th Street Café, and how they can reach their carrying capacity/max potential. 1. Uptown: Uptown is an underrated venue on campus that I feel isn’t appreciated to the extent that it should be. The Improv group We Brake For Nobody performs there, and big names such as Pete Francis of Dispatch and American Idol winner Lee DeWyze have performed there as well.  Some other positives for you: the stage is spacious for a smaller venue, the mixing board used by WVBU’s Alex Alam is of extremely high quality, and the multi-colored lighting is impressive.

The main issue with Uptown is unfortunately one of liability. This past Saturday, my band, Thought Police played Pub Night, a 21+ event for obvious reasons.  However, because of this, my friends who are underage were not able to attend.  I think this is absolutely ridiculous; I tried to fight it by speaking with members of the CAP center, but it was immediately dismissed.

I propose a simple solution: if Uptown staff are working the bar, and the door in which ID’s are checked, I would like to think that with the $54,000+ we spend on tuition, a measly $50 at most can be spent to purchase bracelets. Those who are 21 will receive a bracelet at the door, signifying that they are allowed to drink, and those who aren’t will receive two large X’s in permanent marker on their hands. Even if they tried to get a drink, the bartender would clearly see that they were underage.

The school works so hard to promote non-alcoholic functions, but I truly believe we can meet the needs of the administration half way. Music is a great way to unite all types of people, and Uptown is the perfect environment in which that can occur. Those who are underage and don’t choose to drink can hang out, chat with friends, and listen to music, while those who wish to drink that are of age can. It’s a fairly simple solution, and personally I am outraged that I cannot invite my friends to an event my band and I work so hard to prepare for, especially considering that we play such few shows on campus.

2. 7th Street Café: 7th Street is a quaint, quiet atmosphere in which students hang out on the comfy couches, drink smoothies and coffees, and even do some work. My band has played there for both our shows and Open Mics, and we have gotten a significant number of our friends to attend the show. In our minds, this is exactly what the administration is looking for: a non-alcoholic function where students can enjoy themselves. Due to the acoustic-friendly setting, drums are unfortunately not permitted. This was an issue for us at first, but now that we were able to book Uptown, the issue has been solved. I still believe that if drums were in fact permitted at 7th Street, the noise would draw an even bigger crowd, and consequently would attract more students to attend a non-alcoholic functions. If the administration saw this happening, I would like to think they would take measures to ensure the attendance of these kids at future shows.

522305_10151315083286802_813819186_nThe beauty of the 10-12 PM show slot that 7th Street offers can also increase revenue with the school. 7th Street has a mediocre food and sandwich collection, using the same Go! brand that the library also carries. Let’s be real for a second – college students are in love with late night food. If 7th Street had an actual cook to make late night breakfast sandwiches, that would be extremely popular. This may sound like a crazy idea, but kids could work as chefs to make these sandwiches! And better yet for the university, while such musical acts promote non-alcoholic events, students who don’t receive financial aid would be able to take this employment opportunity. It could be extended to students who are on financial aid as well.  Aside from the school having the opportunity to provide employment for students while simultaneously increasing revenue in this hypothetical situation, I believe the foundation the CAP center was built on can help make these ideas realistic. After all, the CAP center functions to ensure the satisfaction and happiness of the student body. With that being said, shouldn’t they take further measures to speak to more students and actually get a feel for how this could occur? For example, if the Craft Center and 7th Street were to combine, the venue would be that much bigger (this would be an example of a measure the administration could take to potentially hold more students in the venue). 7th Street Café has a lot of potential due to it’s prime location downhill, and I believe that the the ideas I have posed in this section demonstrate this.

The mantra of Campus Vinyl BucknellU is to keep everybody on the same beat. I take that statement literally and figuratively.  Yes, we can help the Bucknell student body literally keep everybody on the same beat by constantly promoting non-alcoholic music-fueled events such as my band’s gig this coming Saturday. Figuratively speaking, we can all be on the same beat by being on the same page of where we stand on the issues addressed in this article.

Campus Vinyl BucknellU is the best thing that has happened to the university since I’ve been a student here. It satisfies my musical needs perfectly, as this has become a great outlet to share music that has influenced me with the student body, and others who have viewed the site. However, I don’t believe the purpose of this up-and-coming organization should exclusively be to inform the student body of new and upcoming artists both at the university and worldwide. I believe that the organization should also function as a mediator between the student body and the administration, in terms of musical events in particular.

I would love to have the opportunity to personally speak with President Bravman about the issues addressed in this article, and I plan on sending it to him. You only live once – you only go to college once. If you aren’t doing what you’re actually passionate about, what are you doing? I have made this my mission; I’m trying to spread the love through music, and I am adamant that the administration can successfully help Campus Vinyl BucknellU achieve these goal; the non-alcoholic benefits that would come from such reform would be impeccable to the overall happiness of the student body and the University, therefore, would be a better place for it.

Keep those records spinnin'

- Jake