One of the biggest Mercyhurst stories of last year was the announcement that Parkhurst was opening a pub on campus.
This announcement was met with much scorn from the Mercyhurst community.
As the opening of the pub draws near, I think it’s valuable to examine why.
Firstly, Mercyhurst students were not really consulted about this plan before it was announced.
While there is no doubt that some students were in-the-know and had a chance to speak before the bomb dropped earlier this year, most students had no idea a pub was even being built until we got an email saying it was coming and the Laker had that garish orange sign slapped on its door.
This is important because it shows the voices of many in the student body were blocked out while this was being considered.
Not only is there a cheaper local pub and diner down the street, but the construction of the pub is having negative side effects for dining on campus.
Many students, including myself, dislike the fact that its construction is effectively closing down the Laker for God knows how long come October.
For Dining Club students like me, this forces us into a situation where we either have to pay eight dining dollars at Grotto Commons whenever we’re hungry, which isn’t really ideal when you only have around $500 to spend in a semester, or spend plenty of extra time walking all the way to Ryan Hall to eat.
If you have a busy schedule like myself, I think you can see how the latter would be less than ideal.
Beyond that, I feel that this pub could hurt local businesses, specifically, the Cornerstone.
The Cornerstone is a popular meetup spot for Mercyhurst students, and a popular local pub.
Mercyhurst students, and even faculty, go there all the time.
It’s become a sort of de facto club for the university.
The construction of this pub undermines that by splitting the community.
Now you’re going to have students who go to the Cornerstone, and the students who go to the pub on campus.
It undercuts an important part of the community of Mercyhurst.
I can understand the concern that we don’t want Mercyhurst students drunkenly stumbling down East 38th Street on their way back to campus after a night of heavy drinking, but is the answer really just to make yourself a competitor to a beloved local business?
The pub, to be blunt, feels a tad redundant when the Cornerstone is right down the street.
I don’t want to make it sound like nothing good is going to come out of this arrangement. In all likelihood, the pub will bring some good to campus.
The number of those many aforementioned students who come home after drinking off-campus will decrease.
The food and drink will likely be great, and additional dining options on campus are always welcome.
It’s also nice that you can pay for the services with dining dollars.
I just believe that there were better ways Mercyhurst could have gone about this whole situation without shutting students out and without hurting local businesses.