St. Patrick’s Day came to Fairfield early on Saturday, March 4, where waves of green were seen both in and outside of The SeaGrape Café as the senior class gathered to celebrate their final Sham Jam. As expressed in a previous article from the Feb. 8 issue of The Mirror, Fairfield Beach Resident Organization (BRO) President Sean Tobin ’17 organized Sham Jam at The Grape due to complaints from residents of the town of Fairfield and the police from hosting it at Lantern Point in previous years.
“In the past, about 1,000 people would come out [for Sham Jam] at the Point, but that’s illegal. I wanted to make sure that the senior class that I am a representative for had the party they deserve,” said Tobin.
Tobin has been organizing the event since November, collaborating with the owner of The Grape and vendors to supply 160 lbs. of corned beef and 20 kegs. He was also able to get the celtic rock band, The Narrowbacks, to perform at Sham Jam.
“BRO took the situation and made the best of it for their class. I hope this works as a model for seniors moving forward,” said Dean of Students Karen Donoghue ’03.
The seniors were aware that they were under close watch from both the townspeople and the Fairfield police in previous years at Sham Jam.
“I think it’s great that we still have something, but Sham Jam in previous years has been fun. I was disappointed that it wasn’t going to be at the Point, but I expected it to not be there because of how strict security has been the past years,” said Kaitlyn Merz ’17.
Those who were at the event felt a sense of community among the senior class.
“It’s a great event to bring everyone together in our grade,” said Kelsey Laforest ’17. “This year especially we have found a great community at the beach and throughout the senior class on campus. I wasn’t upset that it wasn’t at the Point. It feels like a block party.”
Senior Morgan McKean echoed Laforest’s feelings.
“People wouldn’t be upset about it being here because the class is so close. Most of the events haven’t been at the Point this year. It feels more like an organized event. I’m really happy there’s a band, it feels like St. Patrick’s Day,” said McKean
Overall, those seniors who attended the event were satisfied with it and the fact that it was catered to their class.
“I have been enjoying Sham Jam. It’s been a great time,” Ryan Mcguire ‘17 said while at the event. “At first I was a little upset when it wasn’t at the point, but then I realized it would be an event for seniors. Its feels like it’s for us.”
Those who were not able to attend the event remained on campus and celebrated their own version of Sham Jam in and outside of the townhouse area. The Dean of Students office became aware of plans to party on campus and sent out an email on Friday, March 3 to the student body to warn them.
“The email was to remind students that they have rights, but there is is also policy in place. At events like this students occasionally carry open containers, become visibly intoxicated, urinate in public and cause disruption that could potentially lead to an arrest. That’s why we are concerned,” said Donaghue.
For this reason, security was increased in both the Quad and Townhouse areas in order to make sure University policies were followed such as no open containers, unregistered events and unregistered amplified music.
According to Assistant Director of Public Safety John Ritchie, DPS reported 28 incidents, including 5 medical transports, dispersing crowds and incidents of suspicious activity on March 4. The events on campus kept the students within DPS’ jurisdiction.
“It kept the underclassmen on campus. It’s more of a controlled environment. If the beach was trashed, it diminishes town relations,” said Ritchie.
Underclassmen were originally taken aback by the announcement that there wouldn’t be a traditional Sham Jam, but enjoyed their own version of it.
“I was initially disappointed when I realized it wasn’t going to be at the Point, but when I realized my friends and I would go to the townhouses I figured it would be fun. I ended up having a great time because my friends were all in the same house, so it didn’t matter where Sham Jam was,” said Jake Tamagni ’19.
Sophomore Caroline Mahar agreed and felt the same sense of unity the seniors at the Grape did.
“At first I was disappointed because it wouldn’t be at the beach, but it was just as fun at the townhouses. At the end of the day, it was still Sham Jam; we were all still together as a community celebrating St. Patrick’s Day,” said Mahar.
Tobin hopes that future senior classes will be able to continue to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as the class of 2017 did.
“I feel bad for the rest of the school, but their time will come. I received negative feedback about it not being on the Point, but for every negative comment I got about 20 positive ones. I hope this sets a precedent for years to come,” said Tobin.
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