On Saturday, March 16, Fairfield students gathered on campus and at the beach area in an effort to celebrate the annual St. Patrick’s Day darty, commonly referred to by students as “Sham Jam.” 

In previous years, Sham Jam has been known to draw negative feedback from the University’s Administration and local town residents who argue that the event causes unnecessary chaos and disruption. While Sham Jam usually takes place on a smaller scale than Fairfield’s infamous “Santa Con,” some argue its implications are the same and feature individuals violating the law and disrespecting the private property of local residents. 

Last year, the Office of the Dean of Students took part in organizing the annual Sham Jam event at the Townhouses, only offering students who showed their Stag Card access into a designated Townhouse lawn area. Fairfield University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) was also present throughout the day, monitoring the crowd.

However, this year, there was no communication from the Office of the Dean of Students about organizing this year’s Sham Jam, but rather an email sent by Dean Johnson on Tuesday, March 12 encouraging student attendance at other on-campus events taking place on Saturday. The Office of Student Engagement (OSE) led the efforts to draw students away from the Townhouse area by organizing a St. Paddy’s Palooza from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Campion basketball courts. The event featured music, popular food trucks, and a Beer Garden for those who are 21+. 

In addition, given that the Stags Men and Women’s basketball teams both qualified for the MAAC Championship last week, OSE also advertised a pre-game event at the Levee on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. prior to tip-off, featuring a fry bar, pizza and mocktails. There was also a MAAC Championship viewing party at Elicit Brewery for both games. OSE also offered students the opportunity to sign up for free tickets to see “Wicked” on Broadway at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with transportation provided. 

To keep students off the beach area, those 21+ were also open to attend the Sham Jam event at The Seagrape, which featured an open bar from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., a tent, food, and student DJs and giveaways.

While Dean Johnson encouraged student attendance at these various events, he also addressed the anticipated crowd Sham Jam brings, stating “Unapproved, large student gatherings are not allowed on campus.”

He continued, “Given the multitude of activities taking place, there will be additional security and Public Safety staff positioned across campus.” This proved to be true, as DPS was present by the Townhouses as early as 9 a.m. Saturday morning, monitoring the lawn areas and advising Townhouse residents to contain their gatherings on their porches and inside their houses. 

Despite this, around 12 p.m. a large crowd of students gathered on the lawn by Townhouse 9 block alongside DPS, who were monitoring open containers and other violations of community standards outlined in Fairfield’s Student Handbook. 

Many individuals on Fizz commented on the prominent security presence at the Townhouses, posting things like: “There was more security bordering the townhouses yesterday than there is on our southern border,” “They can’t stop us all. Pack 9 block,” and “My only goal is to not get written up today.”

The beach area followed a similar theme, with significant staffing of G-Force Security, as well as Fairfield police. This proved to help mitigate the crowd but did not prevent all unlawful activity. On Sunday, March 17, the CTPost reported that Fairfield Police issued eight infraction citations and arrested two individuals due to violations such as public urination and criminal trespassing. However, the two individuals arrested were not Fairfield students. 

There was also a select number of staff and volunteers cleaning up any trash scattered on the beach property. This was likely to combat the high levels of trash found on the beach in the hours following Santa Con this past December. 

Members of Fairfield’s Club Ski and Snowboard Team decided to join these clean-up efforts Sunday morning as a part of their club’s commitment to community service. Team member Brianna Mcaleer ‘25 reflected on the clean-up, stating “I would say that the beach was already very clean, so round of applause to all the students for being able to both party and look after our beach community and environment!”Mcaleer’s positive sentiment regarding this year’s handling of Sham Jam was also echoed by News 12 who highlighted the “glowing reviews” the University and hired staff received by beach residents due to the mostly tame and clean Sham Jam.
Despite some isolated incidents, this year’s Sham Jam proved to be a safer and more controlled celebration in comparison to previous unsponsored University events.

About The Author

Junior | Assistant News Editor | Finance/Economics Major | Digital Journalism Minor

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