Every year, Fairfield University sophomore students are given the chance to celebrate their halfway point of college in style.
On April 1, the Fairfield University Student Association sponsored the annual “Halfway There” boat cruise for the sophomore class.
Assistant Director of Student Engagement Colleen Wilson ‘11 explained that the boat cruise is an event that each sophomore class looks forward to every year.
“It is an extremely unique event where you get the opportunity to cruise off campus with members of your class to experience beautiful views of the New York skyline and enjoy a night of great food and dancing,” said Wilson.
Although many students often look forward to the cruise, last year’s celebrated event was met with many impediments.
According to Wilson, last year, roughly 300 students were in attendance at the boat cruise, which caused it to get a bit out of hand.
“There was an enormous amount of sophomore students that had pre-gamed the event with alcohol and were therefore unable to carry themselves appropriately at the event,” said Wilson.
To the dismay of the numerous students in attendance, the boat was unable to sail around New York City as there were too many safety concerns, according to Wilson.
Junior Chloe Cummings is one of the students disappointed with the events that occurred during last year’s cruise.
“A lot of people were intoxicated and everyone was just very uncomfortable and wanted to leave,” said Cummings.
“The officers who were running the event were a bit disrespectful toward the students who wanted to go home and would not give us straightforward answers about if they were going to let us leave or not,” she continued.
To prevent the same issues from happening this year, FUSA was in contact, by email, with those that purchased tickets regarding pre-event expectations and guidelines.
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Karen Donoghue ‘03 stressed the importance of reminding the students in attendance that they are all under 21 and therefore needed to uphold the law as well as the University code of conduct.
“This event is for sophomores who are mostly (if not all) under the age of 21. With that said, alcohol consumption or possession is not tolerated. This year, we hired additional security staff to ensure student safety,” said Donoghue in response to the alcohol-related problems faced last year.
In a series of preventative measures, FUSA worked with the Department of Public Safety to make the event as safe as possible.
“Last year’s cruise was a bit challenging. As a result, we reduced the number of attendees to just under 150 guests and performed strict checks before anyone was permitted to get on a bus,” said Assistant Director of Public Safety John Ritchie.
Some students were opposed to the amount of available tickets being cut in half.
“The ticket distribution was not exactly at the best time for me and my friends. We only really heard about the event once beforehand and then I was in a guest lecture for one of my classes and by the time I got out, I heard that the tickets were sold out,” said Lauren Kearney ‘19.
“There was such a small amount of tickets being sold that I didn’t even have a chance to buy one,” she continued.
To ensure smooth sailing, DPS performed extensive searches of all bags and all persons prior to getting on the bus. The student’s bags and persons were then searched again for alcoholic or drug paraphernalia prior to boarding the boat in New York.
According to Wilson, with all of the extra lengths taken to ensure safety, including reducing the the number of tickets, those in attendance behaved and had a memorable evening.
“We didn’t have any issues. I think keeping the number smaller and letting the students know about our expectations regarding behavior and conduct prior to the event definitely helped,” said Wilson.
Despite the increased security presence Katherine Santo ‘19, class president, thought the cruise was still a success.
“The cruise was a great experience that was not tainted by any indiscretions. I understand that in previous years it did not run very smoothly, so they really cracked down on security this year just in case,” said Santo. “Despite that we still had an excellent night celebrating our class being half way through college.”