As per an email announcement sent to all students last week, Mercyhurst University and Parkhurst Dining Services have embarked on plans to open an Irish-themed pub to serve alcoholic beverages on the Erie campus.
This development would involve a renovation to the Laker Inn ground floor, right of the stairs, to be converted into the pub and decorated accordingly.
Parkhurst has taken a first step by applying to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) to purchase a liquor license.
The process, which has already started, generally takes 12 to 18 months.
It is hoped that within the next few years, Parkhurst-catered events such as the employee Christmas Party and Reunion Weekend can have subcontracted alcoholic beverages, as well as creating a hub for students throughout the year.
As a residential college community, the administration sees a variety of advantages to having a pub on campus. The main focus is on student safety — to deter students from drinking and driving, to reduce the opportunity for drinks to be spiked or drugged and to provide more direct oversight of potentially dangerous behaviors like binge drinking.
David Myron, vice president for Finance and Administration, believes that the new pub will greatly benefit the MU community and student life.
“This would create a warm and friendly gathering spot on campus where students 21 and older could meet and enjoy a couple of drinks together,” said Myron. “Imagine saying to friends, ‘Hey, let’s meet at the pub after the game!’ Plus, we would like to start some traditions surrounding our own Irish heritage and background.”
With the right restrictions, it is hoped that an Irish pub, in line with the Mercy Mission and ancestry, will be a successful collegiate endeavor. Other universities such as Notre Dame, Northwestern University, Wake Forest University, Marquette and George Washington University have implemented similar developments with positive results.
In response to the announcement, some students have expressed reservations regarding pricing, the presence of drunk students on campus and taking away business from local Erie bars.
However, there may also be distinct advantages to students, like employment as waiters or waitresses at the facility.
Lastly, it has been determined by Myron and all those working on the project that should the pub be opened on the Erie campus, it will do so in line with alcohol awareness and sexual assault prevention programs at Mercyhurst. All students will require an ID to enter, and must be 21 years of age to be served.
To coincide with the fostering of responsible habits, it is hoped that having a pub on campus could shed light on student drinking and perhaps create an effective and safer venue for student socialization.