Imagine a Saturday evening at the pub. There are students eating pizza and popcorn, buying soda, talking about common interests and having an overall good time. UR students are meeting and socializing with friends and students from fellow colleges Monroe Community College and Rochester Institute of Technology, two of the goals for bringing the pub on campus. Students see old friends from around campus and the surrounding community and make new friends as well.
The bartender comments, “I haven’t been this busy in months.” Is this a for a football game? Perhaps the students are there to see a band perform? Maybe the reason for this sudden increase in pub activity is the season finale of a television show? Nope — it’s for a video game tournament held in the Wilson Commons arcade, which is adjacent to the pub. Imagine that — the arcade accomplishing what the Hive has consistently failed at — providing a place and a reason for people to meet and socialize.
Let’s face it — the pub was a poor idea with miserable execution. The Hive’s flaws are well documented. First, it isn’t popular at all. According to Anne-Marie Algier, Director of Wilson Commons and Student Activities, the pub loses at least a few thousand dollars each month. While costing students and the university thousands, it only manages to attract a small handful of students on an average day.
The arcade does this too, but actually earns the university money in the process. The beer and food are of poor quality, yet over-priced. If you want cheap beer you can get that at the fraternities for free — and you don’t even have to be 21. There are also many viable alternatives such as The Distillery, which is within walking distance from campus. It beats the Hive on all counts – better prices, better food, better drinks, and better atmosphere.
What steps are being taken to turn the pub into a popular, profitable place? Last semester’s funding was spent for weekly performances by bands at the pub. Although this is a good idea to temporarily spike attendance at the Hive, it does little for long term health of the pub. A very similar venue can be found in the Common Ground Caf. I don’t see any reason why it is necessary to have two such similar venues in Wilson Commons, especially when the Common Ground Caf was doing an excellent job without losing thousands in the process.
The goals of the pub are admirable. Who wouldn’t want a hangout popular among students in our student center? However, there are other ways to provide such a place that don’t involve alcohol.
Take, for instance, the Wilson Commons arcade. If one were to walk by the arcade one evening they would see students sitting around meeting, socializing, playing and watching the new Dance Dance Revolution machine. The machine has caused the Wilson Commons arcade’s popularity to skyrocket. Everyone I talk to says the same thing — “There’s always someone on the DDR machine!” Students have even stayed until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights in Wilson Commons playing DDR, a feat the Hive can only dream of.
With no sign or hope of improvement in sight and thousands of dollars in monthly losses, something has to give. It is time for the Pub Committee to admit to itself, and to the UR community, that the Hive is a failure and to take it out of its misery. The Hive is wasting your money and doing nothing to benefit you or the university. No one wants to buy the pub’s expensive beer and there is no reason to have two similar concert venues in the same building. The arcade provides a much more appealing and less costly place for students to meet and socialize and, within the first week of the semester, has become more of a consistently popular hangout for students than the pub has in a year. I don’t want to see the Hive waste thousands of dollars each month until it either begins to make a profit or is closed. Do you?
Golden is a senior and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.