Over the course of the past year, Fairfield @ Night has put on Southside Café on various Saturdays for students. This is an opportunity for students to hang out with friends, listen to music and participate in the different activities offered, and has remained popular since its origin.
According to Colleen Wilson, program coordinator of student programs and leadership development, Southside Café was designed with the purpose of providing students with “a place they could just hang out with their friends and not feel pressured to participate in the alcohol culture.”
Wilson believes Southside Café is one of the more unique events held at Fairfield because of the paint nights, fire pits and s’mores and live musicians that are available to students at Southside.
In addition, Southside is one of the only places open late at night on weekends that serves food. According to Wilson, Southside Café’s late night menu is one of the main features of the event that attracts students’ attention.
Freshman Britta Gunneson also agrees that the fact that Southside serves food is one of its strong points.
“Southside’s menu offers students something that they would have trouble finding elsewhere on campus,” Gunneson said.
So far this year, attendance at Southside Café has remained consistent with attendance last year. According to Wilson, the first Southside of the 2014-15 school year, their fall opening, saw an attendance of 202 students. The two Southsides since then have averaged an attendance of around 100 students.
Wilson sees the high attendance early on in the school year as promising for the rest of the year. Of the 202 students who attended the first Southside, 75 percent of them were new, and 25 percent were returning upperclassmen. Wilson believes that the upperclassmen returned because they were satisfied with the event, showing Southside’s success over the past year.
Fairfield @ Night reps said that they hope that the attractions offered at the upcoming Southsides will entice even more students to come. On this coming Saturday, the LionFish Band will be performing at Southside. Jeff LeBlanc, who made an appearance at Southside last year and has a good following of Fairfield students, will be performing on Nov. 15.
Wilson predicts that the attendance at Southside will increase with the appearances of these musicians because, “those bands themselves have a following, and so they’ll bring them to the space.”
The last Southside event of the semester is Stuff a Stag, where students can choose between five different holiday animals to stuff. Last year, Southside experienced their highest attendance all year at Stuff a Stag, so Wilson expects the same to happen this year.
Many first year students are pleased with what Southside has offered them so far. Gunneson believes that the environment, specifically the giant bean bag chairs, is perfect for a social gathering.
“I love the yogibo chairs. They add to the comfortable setting and make the overall experience much more enjoyable. I would highly recommend replacing regular chairs with yogibo chairs in classrooms,” Gunneson said.
Wilson encourages students to email firstname.lastname@example.org with acts they would like to see and activities they would like to do at Southside, as Fairfield @ Night coordinators said they are always open to suggestions to better their events.