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Alternatives to campus pub culture

An on-campus pub will continue to be a black hole sucking away at student union funds until such time that it is changed to better suit the desires of the students. We know the numbers that regularly flock to Casey’s, and we know that it, like other campus pubs, runs a deficit. Issues of transportation, a small residence population, and, most importantly, safety will plague Casey’s, no matter what they do to change these factors. Put something in the same spot that students actually want, and watch deficits become a thing of the past.

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by Trevor Fik (Staff Writer) – Email

With sky rocketing student and tuition fees, individuals are looking for somewhere to lay the blame for the ever increasing amount of cash being shelled out for post secondary education. One of the culprits of money thievery is located on the University of the Fraser Valley Abbotsford campus. You may pass by it every day, lurking behind the trees as you walk to class. You may have even entered it at one time or another, accidentally wandering inside on your way to class or Tim Hortons, only to scurry out shortly after for fear of a deadly ambush.

Too long has Casey’s on Campus been a money pit, taking more than its fair share of student fees, while giving little back in exchange. The bar has long been a failure. However, many of the reasons it has not succeeded are for reasons outside of its control.

One such reason is UFV’s small residence. What makes many on campus drinking establishments a success is their proximity to large residence buildings. While UFV does have an established residence, its smaller size and relative infancy compared to other, older campuses does not have the customer base to make Casey’s a resounding success. Casey’s must instead rely on a student population that is willing to travel in order to fill its walls.

The question is, with students forced to trek to an on-campus bar in order to grab a drink, how are they supposed to get there? As we all know, public transportation in Abbotsford is a laughable attempt at ferrying people around town, and the number of cabs in operation are nowhere near the amount needed to quickly pick people up from UFV.  The only remaining option is for people to drive to UFV in order to wet their beaks.

The problem with people transporting themselves to the bar on campus, however, lies within British Columbia’s harsh drunk driving laws, and the liability that Casey’s carries regarding the safety of those being served at the bar. The odds that patrons can get between destinations without being charged or harmed are high. The last thing Casey’s needs after having continued setbacks this winter is their name as part of a court document alleging they had a part in over serving someone who later put himself or others in danger.

It appears with the odds stacked against Casey’s that it is time for a transformation. Universities across Canada are beginning to realize that cash strapped, study conscious students are moving away from on campus bars. Instead, Jeff Dockeray, executive director of the Campus Hospitality Managers Association, notes that students are increasingly embracing alternatives to on-campus pubs.

“Back in the 1980s, campus pubs were beer halls. Now they are multi-purpose establishments where the focus has really come off alcohol,” Dockery said.

The real on-campus money makers, Dockeray explains, are the coffee shops and juice bars that cater to a more health-conscious student population. This fits the attitude on the UFV campus to a tee, as it is a common sight to see students lined up out the door for Tim Hortons, but it is a rarity to see more than a few students enjoying a drink or meal at Casey’s outside of the lunch rush.

An on-campus pub will continue to be a black hole sucking away at student union funds until such time that it is changed to better suit the desires of the students. We know the numbers that regularly flock to Casey’s, and we know that it, like other campus pubs, runs a deficit. Issues of transportation, a small residence population, and, most importantly, safety will plague Casey’s, no matter what they do to change these factors. Put something in the same spot that students actually want, and watch deficits become a thing of the past.

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