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Successful pub on a dry campus

By Sean McCormack
On May 3, 2011

It's Friday evening and classes are done for the week. No one wants to do homework; they would rather relax and unwind. Alex Fuller wants to go hang out with friends; maybe get a drink or two

The 22-year-old criminal justice major from Millersville, Md., decides to go to one of the few places on campus where students come together for social gathering, The Partridge Pub.

The Partridge Pub has been around since the Wise Campus Center was built in 2007, and is the only place on campus that serves alcohol to students of legal drinking age.

"We're a dry campus with the exception of the pub and with the exception of catered events where Sodexo is our licensed bartender," said Brigadier General Michael Kelley, commandant of cadets.

The pub is open from Thursday to Saturday night. Students of both lifestyles can get alcohol provided they have a valid ID as proof that they are of legal age to drink.

"They have the band just to make sure you're 21; you can only buy the drinks if you have a band," said Ryan Koch, a 21-year-old psychology and criminal justice double major from Mesa, Ariz.

Once a student has a band they cannot take it off.

"It's proof positive that I've checked their ID. Before you serve we check their ID, once we band them the bands don't come off unless broken off. So if they come back into the pub they have to reshow their ID and get a new band," said John Bennet, a 31-year-old sports medicine, biology double major from Greenville, Mich.

Students are allowed to have either a beer, wine or some mixed drinks. They are monitored by Sodexo and the bartender.

"They have all kinds; they have jack beer, bottled beer, they also have stuff for mixed drinks, they have seasonal beers and that's about it," Fuller said

Before WCC was built there were other places to get alcohol on campus.

"Back a number of years ago there were a number of places you could purchase alcohol," Kelley said, "One was a white farm house down to the south of Goodyear on the far piece of ground on the other side of the road. Sometime in the past 15-20 years that was the pub."

In its first year open, the pub served only beer and wine. It was later decided that the pub could sell mixed drinks to students.

Kelley decides what drinks are sold. The university will not go any further than mixed drinks at the pub; this means no shots or hard liquor.

"It's the bartender's responsibility, so what I stick to is a drink an hour, there isn't a drink limit. … We are not going to serve you till intoxication because that is against the law," Bennet said

Sodexo runs the pub, but the pub is owned by Norwich.

"The reason for it is we wanted to provide a safe, respectful and responsible environment where students of age could consume in a controlled in a safe environment on campus," Kelley said.

Sodexo is licensed to serve alcohol, and it also hires and traisn students to serve alcohol at the bar.

"They are generally staff," said Koch. "There are a couple of Norwich students that have been certified by Sodexo."

The pub has been a deterrent for students leaving campus to drink.  

"At least having students not drive to the Rustic is why I approve of a pub on campus. Especially on the strong winter nights this past year, our numbers of people in the pub were drastically larger because students didn't want to drive," Bennet said.

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