Upon hearing that Mercyhurst would be building a pub for the student population on campus, I think I was just as taken aback by the level of anger from what seemed to be the entire student body.
This anger was pointed directly and entirely at the Mercyhurst administration.
But I don’t think I get the anger surrounding the pub.
For me, a pub is a modern, innovative and, hear me out, necessary feature of any college campus.
I do sympathize with the many students who feel that they were never consulted about the possibility of such a pub.
We students did not have a say in the planning of this pub whatsoever. It feels as though we were consistently told the pub was happening whether we liked it or not.
In that regard, I feel the same way as all of you there.
However, taking a step back to look at the whole concept itself, I do not understand why people are so angry at the fundamental idea of having a pub on campus.
Even those who drink regularly seem strangely appalled by this idea.
It is as if they would never dare have a sip of alcohol on campus, even though many of us have and often do.
I have heard from numerous individuals that the pub is not in line with the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy or our cultural heritage.
They often ask “what will the sisters think of this?” or “how can anyone’s parents be OK with that?”
It was Catherine McAuley herself who said on her deathbed to give the sisters “a comfortable cup of tea,” alluding to a spiked drink to calm the nerves.
Drinking is, for most people, a part of college culture.
It seems unreasonable to say that as an Irish-based university, a pub is against our cultural heritage.
The sisters tend to be very forward thinking.
I believe what they want for our alcohol habits (for those of us who have them) is for us to be as safe as possible when we drink.
Furthermore, a college pub builds community and camaraderie among students.
Particularly when the pub is open to all students and is used often for a variety of social functions.
Out of all the college campuses I visited, Mercyhurst University was actually the only one I applied to without an on-campus bar.
Maybe this is all just a cultural thing, but I genuinely cannot see why there is such a huge hullabaloo.
A space where alcohol is served on campus is a hub for safer drinking, where alcohol is controlled and regulated, and that is a net good for all of us.
The risk of driving under the influence of alcohol, having accidents far from home or encountering predatory individuals in from the wider community is greatly diminished.
Moreover, a pub will be a highly useful facility for after-sporting events and alumni functions.
On top of that, the pub will function as a new programming space for organizations and clubs.
Lastly, the pub will likely affect the bottom line.
The more money that we generate for our own campus, the better.
At the end of the day, the Student Union is ours, and that will be our pub.
Those who don’t want to use it don’t have to.