Halfway through Pub Nite on Thursday, Jan. 18, Pub Nite, party organizers climbed on top of the bar and announced that they only had enough money for three more Pub Nites this semester. They hoped were to convince regular Pub Nite attendees to contribute money to their dwindling savings. Ever since Pub Nite was disallowed from collecting the four dollar entry fee from students in 2014, the tradition has struggled to stay alive. Both organizers and attendees have been questioning the security of the future of Pub Nite.
“Student groups [can] request funding support to provide food, cups, and other event related needs. Pub Nite is taking advantage of that funding support and has taken advantage of it in the past as well,” said Assistant Director of the Office of Student Engagement Andrew Barclay.
Pub Nite organizer Chris Grasberger ’17 indicated funding from the OSE is not enough to keep Pub Nite going due to costs for alcohol.
“This semester, we’ve raised about $600 so far. We need about $3,000 for the whole semester,” he explained.
Organizers are limited in the number of methods they can use in order to raise funds for Pub Nite. According to another Pub Nite organizer, Dylan Gerstel ’17, they have utilized Gofundme and Venmo, in addition to an attempt at tabling last semester, which was not very successful at bringing in funds.
Although Pub Nite is now free, attendance rates have not increased since this change.
“It’s strange because now, week in [and] week out, you can just go to Pub Nite for free,” Grasberger explained.
“I think the spirit has stayed the same, though I think the popularity has gone down,” echoed Daniel Banko-Ferran ’17.
“I think Pub Nite is important because Swarthmore has a reputation of everyone working all the time with no reprieve, [so it is important] to have an agreement that Thursday night is Pub Nite and that’s an opportunity to relax and have fun,” Banko-Ferran stated, indicating that Pub Nite comprises a significant part of Swarthmore’s social scene.
“Pub Nite, in some senses, is like a frat party, but it’s not a frat. I’m looking for a certain thing in a party space, and for me, it’s always been really important because it’s a space that’s always been a little more open and less hyper-masculine,” added Saltzman.
The lack of funding, coupled with decreased popularity, has caused the future of Pub Nite to appear questionable.
“At the rate that we’re going right now, I don’t think we could have Pub Nites every week this semester,” Gerstel admitted.
Grasberger echoed these sentiments and felt doubtful about the future of Pub Nite. He shared why he felt Pub Nite might come to an end.
“Especially with the frats being shut down right now, that means essentially that all the parties have to run off of donations, which is even more competition for people’s money. Between NuWave and Pub Nite, [it’s going to be a challenge],” he stated.
Saltzman, however, offered a more optimistic outlook on the future of Pub Nite.
“I realistically think that Pub Nite will stick around. There’s just work to do. It’s not impossible to get the money,” he said.
“In the last few years it’s worked out fine. There’s also a good mix of underclassmen who attend Pub Nite and are going to want to keep the tradition going,” Saltzman stated.
“It’s up to students to organize and plan Pub Nite, so there is always a chance that it could end if no students plan it. I do plan on working with the current group of Pub Nite organizers to help identify and transition a new group of students into that role,” Andrew Barclay confirmed.
The varying opinions on the future of Pub Nite, in addition to the frats being sanctioned, could cause one to wonder what the future of parties at Swarthmore is.
“The administration is making it kind of hard for students to take parties into their own hands. They’ve been cracking down on everything pretty much. In our freshman year, we were allowed to have hard alcohol at parties … Steadily, it’s become more and more like they don’t trust the students to behave respsonsibly, and that’s made it harder to throw parties,” Grasberger explained.
“It’s also legal issues, it’s kind of like the administration’s hands are bound because of national scrutiny. However, the fact that this year a bunch of things at Worth have been shut down, the fraternities have been shut down, and funding for Pub Nite and Nu Wave being questionable — it’s kind of sad what [the party scene] will look like,” Gerstel also highlighted. Grasberger and Gerstel believe dorm parties could become the new norm as alternatives to frat parties and Pub Nite.
“I think the outside perception of Swarthmore is that we don’t have actual parties, we just drink in a dorm and then lay in the grass and publicly smoke,” said Istra Fuhrmann ’19. Without spaces like Pub Nite, this could become more of a reality on campus.
Hosting smaller dorm parties could also take a toll on inclusivity in Swarthmore’s party scene.
“Parties will find a way, I just think the biggest problem will be inclusion. People will be having smaller and smaller parties where people are drinking with a tight knit group of friends, which is great but I think one of the coolest parts about Swarthmore was always that I could go to any party and get in, and I’ll know people there. That’s not the case with a lot of other schools,” said Gerstel.
The final plan of action for Pub Nite organizers is to reach out to alums. Grasberger stated that they could largely impact on Pub Nite’s prosperity.
“Alums should donate, I think that might be the best long term solution. Once I graduate and get a job, I certainly plan on donating to Pub Nite. If only a few alums donate, that would be a big help,” he said. The future status and sustainability of Pub Nite remain to be seen.