Perhaps the most popular event among Fairfield students, this year’s Clam Jam once again served as a final hurrah for students at the end of the spring semester. On Saturday, April 25, Fairfield students crowded Penfield Beach for this annual celebration.

However, this year’s Clam Jam was very different from previous year’s. Due to the controversy raised by last year’s Clam Jam and the Fairfield residents’ disapproval of the event, Fairfield sought a new location for this year’s Clam Jam. The location was thus moved from Lantern Point to Penfield Beach.

In addition, this year’s Clam Jam was sponsored by the university rather than being organized by senior students living on the beach.

As many students know, a couple of weeks before the event, Clam Jam received harsh feedback from students due to the quickness with which the tickets sold out.

As a result, many underclassmen were unable to attend the event, resulting in a Clam Jam comprised primarily of juniors and seniors.

Once again, Clam Jam was monitored by the security team G-Force. Town officials reported few incidents at Clam Jam.

Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara reported to the CT Post that “I think what we’ve shown this year is this event is transitioning from an, at times, disruptive event to one where Fairfield University students can enjoy themselves, and yet continue the harmony of the neighborhood.”

Junior Taylor Rosello felt that the police force present at the beach was effective in maintaining a safe atmosphere at the event.

“The event was incredibly controlled, but not to the extent where people were afraid to show up,” said Rosello. “It allowed us all to have a good time without worrying about getting into trouble.”

Despite the negative criticism students attributed to the event ahead of time, many students, including Mikey Therrien ’15 and Lauren Brodeur ‘15, found the free beer and food provided at the event to be beneficial.

Junior Cristina Boyle also enjoyed the event, saying that she “thought Clam Jam was a great experience. I loved the idea of having the Spring Concert on the beach during the event.”

Boyle however felt that “the opening act could have been different. Every spring, there is always a rapper in the Spring Concert. If there was a pop or rock artist who opened instead of Kyle, I think I would have enjoyed the event more.”

Several students, however, found the set-up of Clam Jam to be inconvenient for the purposes of the event. One end of the beach was allotted for the administration of alcohol, and “The Chainsmokers” performed on the other end.

“I think it should be more condensed,” said Jocelyn Tetrault ‘15.  “I think to have it in two separate areas is a waste of time. You need to be able to have everyone together. I want to be able to hear the music if I’m going to go get a beer.”

Brodeur agreed, saying “I do not like that the DJ is so far from the beer, because I can’t dance and drink at the same time.”

“Everyone that’s here is on one side, and it’s the side with the beer,” Allison Hildebrandt ‘15 pointed out. “So if they could combine the two, that would be perfect.”

Much to the displeasure of students in attendance, the water was fenced off from the rest of the event, in some parts with a green wind guard that blocked off students’ ability to view the water.

“We’re here to see the ocean, we’re here to party on the beach and to block it off from the view of the students is silly,” said Tetrault.

However, according to Karen Donoghue, dean of students, the fence was not set up in order to prevent students from accessing the beach, but rather for safety reasons.

“Kids actually can go to the beach, they just have to go through the main access point. As long as they have a wristband, they can go out and come in as they please,” said Donoghue.

Despite this, students were unable to leave through the main access point for the beach or to leave the event entirely with a cup of beer in their hand.

In addition, Tetrault felt that “the bathroom situation [was] awful. There need to be at least four times as many bathrooms.”

For Rosello, this years’ Clam Jam was a success.

“I personally think this is the dawn of a new era for Clam Jam that will allow future generations of Stags to enjoy it just as much as I did,” said Rosello.

While Chuck Schwab ‘15 felt that Clam Jam was enjoyable, he added that the event “could’ve been better.”

Tetrault agreed, saying that “I’m happy that there was a compromise made between the school, the town and the beach residents, but I don’t think this is ideal yet.”

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