Clam Jam is looked forward to every year by students. Over the course of two years, the all day beach event was taken over by school officials. Restrictions were put on the event, which prevent most students from attending due to the fear of underage drinking. When I was a freshman, I remember that the only underclassmen who could get in were friends or siblings of seniors. Fences blocked off the underclassmen on that rainy morning on the Point. While in the crowd of underclassmen behind the gates, I remember one of the security guards saying, “Why don’t they just bring a speaker over here and let you guys hang out here and listen to music?” Even the security guards thought that there was nothing wrong with us all hanging out on the beach whether we could drink or not. I don’t agree with these new restrictions. I think that it’s unfair for students to wait to be upperclassman to enjoy the one beach day. If Clam Jam must be a school event with restrictions, then why can’t there be a way to include everyone and separate those who are legal from those underage by using our StagCard and identification?
Fairfield is a beautiful school not only because of its campus, but also because of how close we are to the beach. As students, I think that we don’t utilize the beach enough for a campus that is only a five minute drive away. Rarely do I go to the beach during the day. When I do go to hang out with friends it’s refreshing, especially during the nice weather. Clam Jam is viewed only as a drinking event when it doesn’t have to be. Why should the event be any different from the spring and fall concerts or Midnight Breakfast? It should be an event that includes all students. For juniors who aren’t 21 years old yet, the idea of closing off Clam Jam to underclassmen seems unfair to them as well.
“I think the organization of Clam Jam is garbage because someone who could enjoy the time and take advantage of the experience is being left out,” said Matthew Parenti ‘17.
The Beach Residence Advocacy Group has made the price for Clam Jam tickets $50 for juniors and $25 for seniors this year. It seems unfair that juniors who are under 21 have to pay the same amount as students who are of age. If underage juniors can come and not drink, then why can’t they let all underage students come? In addition to making the event more equal, chances are that the tickets would be less expensive and would entice more students to attend, especially upperclassmen.
“I think there should be both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available,” said Allie Greenbaum ‘16. “I feel as though they should have security, make sure everyone is standing on [their] two feet and [are] out of harm’s way while also having a great time and creating college memories.”
To wait until we are seniors to freely enjoy being on the water seems unfair. We should be able to have more school events on the beach and have Clam Jam open to all students, not for the sake of drinking, but for the sake of community. Current underclassmen shouldn’t have to wait to enjoy the beach when the seniors now and the upperclassmen before them never had to. In a way, it seems to deprive us of freedom.
“It would provide a greater opportunity for all students to enjoy it. Alcohol does not need to be given to underage students; it is not hard to card using StagCards and/or give wristbands,” said Parenti.
The opportunity to go to the beach at Fairfield was one of my deciding factors to come to school here. I’m sure for many other students the option of going to Fairfield beach on a nice day was also a deciding factor. College shouldn’t be about dividing the classes, it should be about bringing them together. If other schools who live close to the beach can utilize it, then why can’t we? I can understand how the school is adamant about keeping students safe, but there are ways to ensure safety and equality.