Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Since the year PubNite lost official school funding, every fall brings along with it another set of questions and doubts surrounding the survival of this longstanding Swarthmore tradition. Under the leadership of this year’s PubNite Committee (Shivani Chinnappan ‘18, Luke Barbano ’18, Luis Ceballos ‘18, Daniel Dellal ‘18, Harry Leeser ‘18, Clare Perez ‘18, Emily Cai ‘18, and Carlo Sivilotti ‘18), the weekly Thursday night of beer and dancing is on its way to stick around for another year based on their success so far.
At an average cost of about $3000 a semester, according to Chinnappan, PubNite is a large expense to cover, especially considering that most, if not all, funding comes from students and alumni.
“It’s not ridiculous that people worry. Based on how things are going, it’s probably going to be fine but it’s always tight in getting the funding. The bigger question isn’t ‘Will we get the funding?’ It’s ‘Will we get the funding to have Pub where in one or two [sic], we can have some nicer kegs and not just be drinking Natty Light all semester?’” Leeser said.
Since the end of the 2017 spring semester, the PubNite Committee has been fundraising to meet this need, beginning with a small speech at the end of last year’s “Alumni PubNite.”
“We had to make the GoFundMe and the PubNite Venmo. There was even one point during alumni weekend where Luke [Barbano] was driving golf carts. We made a banner to put across his golf cart with the link on it so it was free advertising,” Chinnappan said.
Although last year’s PubNite Committee passed along a wealth of information and wisdom to their successors, including an ongoing relationship with beer distributor Suds N’ Soda, other matters such as fundraising are in the hands of its current members. This year’s “brainchild” of the Committee, according to Chinnappan, was their “Quizzo PubNite Fundraiser” during “Dry Week” which brought a huge influx of money.
“The success we had with the fundraiser last week might encourage us to have some more styled fundraisers throughout the year as well. Maybe before Pub starts one night. People love Quizzo. That is not something I realized. Swatties love Quizzo,” she said.
As of Tuesday, September 12th, PubNite has raised an impressive $1200. That is still $1800 away from the funds Chinnappan says will be needed to continue the Thursday night tradition through the end of the semester. But the PubNite committee strongly believes it will once again be able to continue the weekly party.
“So I think that panic has been there every year where people think ‘Oh, there’s not going to be a PubNite,’ and ‘How are we going to raise enough money to keep it going?’ But I think every year people have managed to figure it out and put together money to have it every year. And I mean, we’re pretty much on track this year to keep it going. Based on the enthusiasm that I’ve seen in the classes under us, they’ll be able to keep it going,” Dellal said.
With more than a thousand dollars left to raise, PubNite is relying heavily on first-years, student organizations, and athletic teams as possible donors. While student groups are still coming together and, in some cases, collectively buying a permanent table at the event, first-year students are experiencing PubNite for the first time and seeing whether it is an experience in which they want to invest. Whether it is a group donation of $250 for a table or an individual gift, these are the dollars that will allow PubNite to push through to the final weeks of the semester. In the words of Chinnappan:
“I don’t think it’s dying. I think we feel strong right now. We feel like last week was really successful, and we’re really excited to see what the turnout for the first one is [going to be] … As a committee, we promise to put forth as much effort as we can to keep this going as long as Swatties promise to keep coming and keep Pub alive.”
For now, the kegs of PubNite will continue to pour for as long as the money and spirit continue to flow.
Featured image courtesy of Brandon Torres ’18.