Throughout university history, there have been a number of different arguments posed for having a dry campus, and conversely, for having a wet campus. No, I’m not talking about how difficult it is to stay dry when walking around campus on a rainy day. I’m sayin’, “Let’s sit down and have a beer!”
UFV Abbotsford is not a large campus. There’s the library, cafeteria, U-House, Baker House, and various nooks and crannies that provide social spots for students to meet up and either study or chat during breaks. Casey’s on Campus, UFV’s student pub, is another place where students are welcome to grab a bite to eat, or enjoy a beer after class. The size of our pub is relative to the size of our university. Working within their means, Casey’s tries to meet its clientele’s needs by providing a service while maintaining a reasonable size.
The students who live in residence sadly exist in the evil clutches of Sodexo. Meal cards in tow, they are often seen dazed and confused in the cafeteria, trying to decide between the four over-priced food options available. The options may be more varied in the cafeteria, but the prices are often double those at Casey’s. Not to mention, Casey’s also offers healthy options – and the water is free (Smart Water, $3.55 in the Cafeteria.) Casey’s also accepts the Baker House meal cards, provides students with better hours of operation than the cafeteria, different food options, and free soda refills!
Students and faculty need to remember that UFV has only been a university since April 2008; its pub cannot be expected to run perfectly. UBC is a much bigger campus with a larger student body and more revenue. More importantly, it’s been around for a few decades. One of their pubs, the Pit Pub, was first suggested in 1968 by Zoology Professor David Suzuki. In 1971, four years later, The Ubyssey student newspaper was praising the Pit as “a place to relax, eat a sandwich, and talk about the revolution.” This year the Pit will be celebrating is 43rd birthday, the number one bar on campus (yes, there are others) and student friendly.
There is no reason Casey’s can’t become a great pub. But like everything else (including heart break), it takes time. The complaint has been made before: UFV doesn’t have any student life. Although I don’t think this is completely true, if a student isn’t interested in making a formal commitment to join a group or club, a student pub is the next best thing to contribute to a student friendly environment.
Bars throughout Abbotsford serve a specific kind of crowd, and as we are all aware, none of them focus on students. Although none of us are expecting to cram for our finals at Finnegan’s, the closest watering hole to campus, having an atmosphere that encourages studying with a pint is a certain social atmosphere that students seek out.
A campus bar shouldn’t focus on making the university an extra buck. Instead, the university should start asking what students need and want, and if it’s a tequila shot before your Economics midterm, so be it. Students need a pub: a place to socialize, a place to study, and, perhaps most importantly, a place that is student-run. The fact of the matter is the students need Casey’s. Give it time to revolutionize, and it will become great.