Whether shown by the colorful posters pinned all around campus or “Pub Nite” making its way back into the common Swarthmore vocabulary, a once-beloved tradition is back this semester. Traditionally, Pub Nite is a weekly, student-hosted party held on Thursday nights in Paces: the event’s return has been met with excitement and curiosity from underclassmen. However, the same obstacles that previously threatened Pub Nite remain relevant.
Maya Estrera ’25, the head organizer of Pub Nite, encountered difficulties while reviving the event. After she received feedback regarding the inconvenience of the event’s timing, Estrera was conflicted between prioritizing tradition and moving the gathering to a weekend.
“I think the main difficulty is that there aren’t that many people who know the history [of Pub Nite],” Estrera said. “I know a lot of people, especially underclassmen, who have been saying ‘Oh, we would be more likely to go if it were on a Friday,’ but I’m conflicted because I know that the event has historically been held on a Thursday.”
Marwan Hmam ’27, a member of Pub Nite’s organizing team, has been discussing moving Pub Nite to Friday with Estrera. He also recognized how the lack of funding has hindered the appeal of the event, for example, when needing to buy new items for a beach-themed night.
“We don’t have any budget from the college, so we do everything by ourselves,” Hmam said. “The school only allows us to use the venue, but we also need lights, more speakers, good sound systems, and theme-specific props like beach balls.”
Dylan Lee ’24, an exchange student from Yale-NUS College Singapore who attended the event, suggested holding the event in a more spacious venue.
“It was near pitch black inside the room, and for some reason, the sound system kept bugging out, so there were moments where the sound would cut off for around five seconds,” Lee said. “Also, everyone was squashing and pushing each other, so I couldn’t get into the music because I was worried that my friends and I would get separated.”
Another attendee, Sherri Hong ’26, shared recommendations on how Pub Nite organizers can make the event safer and more enjoyable.
“I talked to my friends about this; they should have bouncers, so it’s not too crowded and not too many men pushing you,” she said.
Hong also suggested the organizing team could implement official safety procedures and be trained on how to host events appropriately.
Both Estrera and Hmam have also acknowledged the importance of safety at Pub Nite; They are working alongside college administration, including Assistant Director of Student Activities and Leadership Ben Shalk, to improve safety measures at the event.
“[Shalk] has advised us to have bouncers out the door,” Estrera said. “But I haven’t heard of anything [unsafe], at least during the events. [The parties] have also been a decent size to where you’re able to monitor everyone from any area [of the room].”
Hmam agreed that Pub Nite hosts could sufficiently monitor the event, saying they planned to recruit more people to the organizing team.
Regardless of the difficulties faced while organizing Pub Nite, Estrera views it as an opportunity to have fun and take a break from the college’s stressful academic environment. In her freshman year, she regularly attended Pub Nite on Thursday nights.
“For future weeks, definitely come to Pub Nite,” Estrera said. “Everyone knows the mindset here is very work-oriented, so it’s just nice to have a place to go during the week. I do think that everyone needs to relax a little bit sometimes, and I think we should build [a more tight-knit] community.”