This Friday the 13th, Fairfield students had more to be scared of than bad luck — they also had the added fear of wondering whether or not their peers would arrest them at the annual Jail N’ Bail event. The Department of Public Safety organized and hosted the event on Oct. 13, marking the 10th anniversary of its formation and commitment to giving back to the community with a fun experience for all. Taking place in the middle of the traffic circle near the Barone Campus Center, students were able to put out warrants for their friends and classmates to get “arrested” and locked behind bars in order to raise money for the Special Olympics. In order to arrest someone, students would have to pay $5 for an “arrest warrant” to be issued toward anyone of their choosing.
Students who were sent to “jail” had to contact as many family members and friends as possible to raise enough money for their bail that would go to funding and supporting the Connecticut Special Olympics in order to be released. Donations for the cause were received via the “Stag Heroes” section of the University’s website, as well as by cash at the event itself.
One of the key differences about this year’s event is the fact that it took place during the fall as opposed to the spring semester. Having been cancelled last spring, questions arose as to how Jail N’ Bail might be different this year now that it was in the fall and exactly how much was changed to the overall format of the event.
One of the organizers of the event, Assistant Director of Public Safety John Ritchie, said that the event was cancelled last spring because of ”the construction going on at the Barone Campus Center and the parking garage and elsewhere, [so] we were actually limited in the space in which we could have the event. The event was too big to have in a certain area so we ended up postponing it to the fall.”
In regards to changes to the event, Ritchie said, “it’s pretty much the same event. We have representation from additional police departments this year that we haven’t had in the past.” In terms of the police forces that came out for the event, they ranged from the Milford police, the Department of Veterans Affairs police department from the U.S. government, Trumbull police, as well as Southern and Eastern Connecticut state police, who are also great supporters of the event as per Ritchie. The town of Fairfield police were also in attendance, who are also known as being huge supporters of Jail N’ Bail.
Ritchie expressed his concern that there would not be sufficient turnout from both the first-year and sophomore classes because neither had experienced the event due to first-years being new to the University and sophomores being unable to partake in the event last year because of the cancellation. Ritchie pointed out that for the class of 2020, “last year, when they were first-years, they didn’t have the opportunity to experience the event, so they’re coming into their sophomore year with a big unknown.”
One of the students who took part in the event, Mateo Rodriguez ‘21, said, “it was an entertaining and effective way to raise money for a good cause”.
Another student who was there, Rachel Belmonte ‘20, expressed that “as a sophomore I was so happy to experience Jail N’ Bail. I know that last year it was cancelled due to construction but I am very happy it was brought back this semester. I hope we keep this as a Fairfield tradition.”
In respect to how Jail N’ Bail is beneficial to the University, Ritchie expressed that, “Fairfield U is all about community. When you come to a Jesuit school, it’s all about men and women for others.” He felt as though a good way to be men and women for others and adhere to the core Jesuit value of caring for others would be to give back to the community and help out by donating and participating in the event.