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Students hold buy-out of Hotung’s alcohol mini-fridge

Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 16:01

Hotung

Caroline Geiling / The Tufts Daily

A group of about 50 to 60 students purchased all the alcohol in the Hotung Café mini-fridge last Friday, marking the start of Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senator Andrew Hunter’s campaign to open an on-campus bar.

Inspired to pursue this project after returning home from studying abroad in London, Hunter said the idea for an on-campus bar was well received among 85 percent of Tufts students in the Senate’s fall survey.

“One thing that I really liked about my university [in London] was that they had all of these student-run, owned [and] operated bars on campus that everyone went to,” Hunter said. “[They] were really neat place[s] to hang out.”

During winter break, Hunter said he realized he needed a campaign for the project to generate interest. The TCU Senate did not sponsor or coordinate the Friday event in Hotung, but Stephen Ruggiero, the TCU Vice President, attended the event.

“I thought it was definitely successful,” Ruggiero said. “It was really cool that we could mobilize a certain population of the Tufts community to go ahead and relax and enjoy themselves on a Friday afternoon after a long week of classes and getting back into the groove of the academic schedule. We definitely put a dent in whatever they had. I know we originally sold it out and they had to come out and restock.”

According to Patti Klos, the director of Dining and Business Services, Hotung has had a license to sell alcohol since the 1980s, but they have been selling just beer and wine since its 2007 renovation. 

Although Hotung was busier Friday evening, the crowds did not warrant keeping the café open longer, Klos said.

“While we were pleased to see a slight increase in use of the Hotung Café or alcoholic beverages on Friday night, the participation was not significant to sustain a pub for the long haul,” Klos told the Daily in an email. “We believe the hours at Hotung are appropriate for current demand.”

While senators brought the initiative to her attention, she has not yet met with them this semester so she is unsure of how urgent the project is, Klos said.

In the coming weeks, Ruggiero said TCU senators will begin meeting with school officials including Klos, the Vice President for Operations Linda Snyder, Director of the Office for Campus Life Joe Golia and University President Anthony Monaco.

Since events like Fall Ball, Winter Bash and the Naked Quad Run have been cancelled or altered there have been fewer opportunities for the campus to come together. 

“One thing that has kind of happened on my watch over my four years here is that Tufts has kind of lost or things have been reshuffled the big kind of campus wide events,” Hunter said. “If we can create an institution on campus that can serve as a model for responsible drinking, having a good time, I feel like that is a more positive way to combat the binge drinking culture.”

According to Ruggiero, he and Hunter are investigating a partnership with Tufts Student Resource (TSR) to make the proposed bar student-run.

“We’ll be setting up a meeting with them soon to see if they want to hop on this opportunity with us because again we want it to be for students, run by students,” Ruggiero said. “We really like the model the Rez has because it would create student jobs on campus.”

Ruggiero said that, for now, unofficial meetings will continue to take place in Hotung on Friday nights to grow interest.

“We’re going to turn it into almost a weekly thing to show that there’s a demand and a need for something like this on campus,” Ruggiero said. “I think the more we do them, the more buzz it will create on campus and the better turn out we’ll have. That’s kind of the goal to show this demand on campus.”

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