Booze and books

If USUAA senator Jonathan Wilcox has his way, UAA students will soon be able finish their day with a cold beer or glass of wine on campus. Wilcox has been pushing for a pub in the Student Union for the past few months. He has gathered support from other senators and students, and hopes to see his project move forward this year.

Radiology major Justin Carr said he thinks an on-campus pub is an excellent idea.

“It’ll be great for students and faculty.”

Wilcox believes one of the major advantages of having a pub on campus is education about alcohol and its abuse.

“We are a wet campus,” Wilcox said. “I think one of the ways to solve that problem is first give a venue in which people can drink on campus. It will also allow us to make a move to make the dorms dry so there will be less problems with alcohol.”

However, not all students are as enthusiastic about a pub as Wilcox and Carr.

“I’m not a really big drinker,” said Chase Miller, a philosophy major. “When I come to campus, I’m not really here to drink. I’m here to study, to do homework and to learn, and I don’t really know how I can do that while I’m actually having alcohol.”

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UAA used to have a pub in what is now the Student Union Den. However, it served food, not alcohol. Before Aramark came to campus, food service was held there and it was also used for special events.

“Revenue was derived from the rental of the pub,” said Cindy Marshall, student affairs manager.

Once food service in the pub was discontinued and Aramark took over the contract, Subway moved into the pub for a while. After Subway moved to their current location, the pub then became known as the Den and functioned as a venue for special events and meetings.

Wilcox hopes to see the new pub modeled after the pub on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. Though the UAF pub is fully funded and run by the university, Wilcox says UAA will probably not have that luxury.

“Our pub is going to have to be a working model and support itself through some funds,” Wilcox said. “Which is unfortunate (because) I think the university could make a lot of money off of this pub.”

If UAA were to fund the project, any profits made would go right back into the Student Union, which could help them fund special projects.

“It’s a great cash cow,” Wilcox said.

But before the pub project can move forward, many things have to be considered. Dean of Students Linda Lazzell said whether or not the climate of Anchorage favors a pub is a grave concern.

“The university is very concerned about alcohol abuse,” Lazzell said. “Any approach would have to be with that in mind. Many college campuses are going dry in regard to all the problems.”

Wilcox agrees the pub will not be a traditional bar in light of these concerns. So far, there are no plans for the pub to offer hard alcohol and it would not be open during late hours. Clientele would be subject to strict ID checks by certified staff.

“Responsibility is key,” Wilcox said.