This past Friday, April 6, students from the class of 2020 gathered at Penfield Beach in Fairfield for the first annual Fairfield University Student Association-planned event, ‘Halfway to the Beach.’ Catherine Halley ‘20, one of the FUSA programming coordinators for class of 2020 events, said, “The night was filled with great food, great music, beach views and 2020 classmates.”
Halley, went on to highlight that there was a variety of food and activities offered at the event, as well as, “a s’more station outside on the patio facing the beach. There was a photo booth station where students could capture memories of the night with some of their closest friends.”
Despite this, there were a number of sophomores that left the event early and some who felt that it could have been a better event than it turned out to be. One student, Justin Mercado ‘20, stated that, “There was potential for it [‘Halfway to the Beach’] to be amazing, but it fell short in many ways. It was only the first year for it, so some things can be overlooked. I only hope that it can be something more in future years.”
However, Olivia McEvoy ‘19, associate director of programming for the Fairfield University Student Association felt as though, “While some people did leave, a good number of students stayed well into the event. With this in mind, the timing of event may change as we look forward to next year, but this information in no way indicates that the event was unsuccessful.”
Previously, the sophomore event had been a cruise around New York harbor, yet according to Colleen Wilson, one of the FUSA advisors, “Following the 2017 event, FUSA received feedback from the sophomore class expressing that they would rather have an event that was closer to campus and didn’t require an hour bus ride. They were also looking for a more affordable ticket price, as the price for that year  was $50.”
A survey of 267 students conducted by FUSA in December 2017 by the class of 2020 programmers showed that 96.38 percent expressed interest in attending this new event.
One of the main issues of the event, however, was that this year’s new venue, the Penfield Pavilion, could not accommodate more than 200 sophomores, which left many in the class of 2020 unable to attend.
Even with the 200 tickets sold, as Clare French ‘20 stated, “A critique I have is that there should have been enough tables for the amount of people that bought tickets. Some people had to stand because there were not enough chairs or tables.”
French went on to state that, “they [FUSA] should look into making the end time earlier than 11 because people were ubering back early and not using the bus”
One student who left early, Alanna Goldy ‘20, echoed French’s critique, ”I thought it was fun at the beginning and the venue was beautiful but if it accommodated more people, everyone would have stayed longer.”
Another student in attendance, Adriana Bifulco ‘20, felt that, “I had a good time with my friends and everyone had fun dancing, everyone left by around 9 p.m. Overall, it was a nice way to celebrate halfway to senior year.”
Wilson noted that, “While they [programmers] were concerned that the venue would only accommodate 200 students, they were excited that the event would allow for 50 more students to attend than the 150 that were able to purchase tickets for last year’s boat cruise.”
Halley noted, “I think many students at this event finally understood and felt the meaning behind ‘Halfway to the Beach.’ It is crazy and especially scary to think that we are already halfway done with college, but at the event, excitement and friendship filled the room.