Starting this semester, the Independence Blue Cross Student Recreation Center and the Student Pavilion will extend its hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The IBC will be open until 11 p.m. on Thursdays, midnight on Fridays and 10 p.m. on Saturdays. The Student Pavilion will be open until midnight on Thursdays, 10 p.m. on Fridays and 10 p.m. on Saturdays.
One of the goals is to provide students with a dedicated space on those nights – the most popular nights for college partying – where they can pursue activities other than drinking.
There will also be a number of non-athletic activities being held at the IBC on these nights, including free caricature portraits, mini massages, and a game show.
Steve Young, director of Recreation Services, came up with the idea for the extended hours. They are the direct result of work by the Programming and Education subcommittee of the Alcohol Task Force.
The Alcohol Task Force formed in fall 2004 to study nationwide student drinking patterns. Although the task force did not find that student drinking at Temple was especially serious, the Programming and Education subcommittee decided to extend the hours at the IBC and the Pavilion as a preventative measure.
The Task Force hopes to curb student drinking before it becomes a major problem, as it has at other universities around the nation.
Anne Wilkinson, an assistant director of Recreation Services, said the goal is not to take students away from partying. It is only to give them another option, and to encourage them to make better decisions when they do go out to party.
“We’re setting the stage for them to come in,” Wilkinson said. “It’s now the students’ choice to engage in positive instead of negative behaviors. The ball is in their court.”
Although the connection between extended hours at recreation facilities and drinking reduction may not be immediately apparent, Wilkinson said that the psychological and physiological benefits derived from increased physical activities will give students the mindset necessary to make less destructive decisions.
Some students, however, have mixed feelings on whether these extended hours will curb student drinking.
“This is college and people like to party,” sophomore Michael Faine said. “They want to take advantage of that why they’re here now instead of coming and working out.”
Sophomore Ian Schramnn said he planned to take advantage of the later hours if he could not make it to the IBC earlier, but that it would not prevent him from drinking.
“We’ll just drink afterwards,” Schramnn said.
Young hopes that the extended hours will help thin out the crowds at the IBC between 3 and 7 p.m. – the most popular time to use the facility. He believes that the nighttime activities might draw students to the IBC at later hours, and might encourage them to work out at those late hours as well.
Building supervisor Kyle Shireman said a lot of students are not currently taking advantage of the new late hours.
“Our first Friday we only had 12 people come in from 9p.m. to midnight,” Shireman said. “We have signs, but I think a big problem is a lot of people don’t know about it.”
The IBC has an array of promotions scheduled to help generate attendance on Friday nights. Last Friday, students arriving after 9 p.m. could enter a raffle to win an iPod. Promotions coming up in September include cartoon portraits, a game show and bouncy boxing.
“They’re doing things in hopes that people will come,” Shireman said. “They’re doing it all semester to see if it’s worth while. So I guess if people don’t take advantage of it, it probably won’t be available next semester.”
The Recreation Services Activity and Program Schedule is available at many locations on campus, including dorms and academic buildings. It is also available online at www.temple.edu/recsvcs.
“We’ll be here, open, waiting for them,” Wilkinson said. “Hopefully they’ll come.”
Daniel J. Kristie can be reached at email@example.com.