No kegs, no basements, no large gatherings at the point and no partying. Over the past 10 years, Fairfield University has seen many changes to the social climate of the school that have resulted in a majority of sponsored activities, student groups, and events geared for 21-year-olds being shutdown, banned or modified.

Since 2000, there has been a target effort to minimize the effects of the growing culture of binge drinking among students at Fairfield University.

Fairfield is a Jesuit University located in Fairfield, Conn. The university is home to 2,589 full time students who live on campus and another 660 students residing off campus. The majority of those students reside about three miles off campus at the beach.

Since 2000, all of the following features of students life at Fairfield have been eliminated: Clam Jam, 200 Nights, Spam Jam, Kegs, Basements and SBRA (Student Beach Resident Association.) Also basements of townhouses, a popular party spot have been closed. All these events and groups were part of student life that new students have not been able to participate.

Kegs: In Sept. 2006 students returned to Fairfield University to find out that one drastic change had been made over the summer break, kegs were no longer allowed on campus. This change was the decision of Dean of Students Tom Pellegrino,

“Kegs were restricted for a couple of reasons we were really behind the times behind practices … the number of schools that allowed kegs, public or private that allowed, was two, us and Connecticut College”

The reason for taking kegs off campus was that they did not create a safe drinking environment. Kegs invite a crowd larger than one would want,” Pellegrino continued. “They are banned for a couple of reasons. In practice it is difficult to regulate how many people you have in your residence when a keg is present … it plays into the fact that a keg can be used in a way an individual drink cannot … It tends to invite more problems that can, and probably should, be avoided.”

A senior at Fairfield who now lives at the beach shed light on the differences between parties on campus without kegs and beach parties with kegs. “To be honest no [difference], maybe not quantity of drinking but quality…there are more events, Mock Wedding and October Fest, which you can’t have without a lot of room and kegs.” He felt that kegs, “did not involve any more excessive drinking” than non-keg parties.

Basements: In 2007 Fairfield University, closed all townhouse basement doors after a fire occurred in one of the townhouse basements, started by a careless, drunk student.

The townhouses first opened in 1982. The complex has two styles of houses that currently house five or seven students at a time. Until fall of 2007, the basements of the houses were fully accessible to students for storage purposes, which eventually turned into a haven for partying. Another senior said, “I never lived in a townhouse with unlocked basements, but first semester freshman year it was a fun place to be.” He said of the benefits the basements provided to students when they were open, “[this] meant that the townhouses were not destroyed as much upstairs during large gatherings.”

Pellegrino commented on the eventual closing of these basements saying, “at the end of the day it’s a safety thing.  It is a best practice thing. I won’t tie it directly to the fire marshall … an incident we had in the townhouse.”

Pellegrino referenced the fire which happened in a townhouse basement, where a bean bag chair caught on. He continued talking about the townhouses themselves saying, “Human traffic flow is not good, I personally can recall times where I don’t want to over state when I say students were trampled on stairs trying to get access out of there [basements] ”

Injunction at Lantern Point: In 2001 a temporary injunction was placed on Lantern Point not allowing gatherings of over 250 people on the deck. This injunction was brought about by full time residence that lived in the vicinity of the beach.

The Fairfield Mirror covered the story, citing that nine-year round Fairfield beach residents brought the case to the Fairfield Beach Resident Association. Later in 2006, this injunction was made permanent.

It was met with support by town officials such as First Selectman Kenneth Flatto, who in 2006 told The Mirror he “totally supports” the injunction. “There wouldn’t be a way to enforce crowd behavior without these sanctions … The beach is public property and unfortunately bonfires and poor behavior have resulted in proposals for fencing and other things.” This meant that the beach lifestyle students had been familiar with changed as illustrated in a letter to the editor sent by an alumni from 2001.

“Do you think the possibility of a drunken Irishman running around with Beetlejuice on his shoulders exists on campus? Yeah, that’s because it doesn’t. But it happened at Fairfield Beach and it was burned into my brain forever, filed under fun. This is the kind of stuff you are missing out on…The setting for fun exists, it’s up to you to bring the fun. So make it happen, make some memories, that’s what you are there for.”

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