Bring back the bar

The Trinity community could benefit economically and socially from a campus bar

I explained in a previous article that Trinity’s Covid policies have harmed a lot of the social life on campus, from student organization events to hanging out with friends. In times like these, it benefits us to look for ways the university can improve the social atmosphere. Therefore, I propose to the university to bring back the student bar.
For those who do not know, there used to be an operational bar in the mailroom below the Fiesta Room. Between 1973 and 1986, it was legal for Texans under the age of 21 to purchase and drink alcohol. During this period, a bar was set up on campus that became a social center. According to older professors, the watering hole was a social hotspot for students and professors alike. But after the minimum drinking age law was put into place on Sept. 1, 1986, the bar was closed down.

What’s stopping Trinity from restoring the bar? The university openly acknowledges that students drink on campus and has handed out merchandise to encourage responsible drinking. How exactly would a bar change drinking on campus?

For one, I should preface this by saying that I am not encouraging underage students to drink. The bar would not be open to the public and would use Trinity IDs to verify student’s ages instead of driver’s licenses that can be easily faked. Non-alcoholic options would be provided for underage students to encourage them to use the space as well. How lenient the university wants to be with who can drink alcohol is up to them.

This would be a safe place for students to drink with a variety of students across campus and interact with those they may not have otherwise met. It would also give those pool tables in the mailroom a use besides collecting dust.
TUPD or other trained staff would keep an eye on students to ensure they are not getting too intoxicated. It is well known that Trinity students, underage or not, are drinking off-campus and run the risk of getting caught by SAPD. This bar would ensure that Trinity can control the student drinking environment. The bar could also provide students how to operate a bar and help students learn about management of businesses like it.

But what about the cost? Well, thankfully, Trinity already has the most expensive parts covered. Since the bar is already built, Trinity will not have to worry about start-up costs or rent, which take up most of the initial costs. The highest costs are inventory and staff. Still, considering this is Trinity, they can find a way to offset those costs, whether by pricing or lower wages. With bars commonly marking up prices 200-400%, Trinity could run the smaller end of those markups and still turn a good margin.

All in all, Trinity University should consider reopening the bar. It would help bring back a social atmosphere on campus, help foster professor-student relations as the old bar did, provide a safe and controlled drinking environment for students and become a decent source of income for the university.