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The line was long and the bar was packed with students eager to get their crawl on-their pub crawl, that is.
A total of 420 Keene State College students signed up for the first “Fall Pub Crawl” at Cobblestone Ale House on Main Street organized by seniors Michelle Picard and Leah Lopes on Sept. 30.
A total of seven hours of drinking will take place on Nov. 17 at Cobblestone, Lab’n Lager, Penuche’s, McCue’s, The Pour House, Kilkenny’s and Railroad Tavern with a limit of 45 minutes to an hour in each bar. [singlepic id=1221 w=320 h=240 float=right]
There were too many students in line that some were turned away once the maximum list of pub crawlers was compiled.
Precautions are being taken by not only the bars, but the students themselves as this much alcohol consumption raises concerns. Precautions began at sign-ups, where Picard checked IDs as participants filled out their forms. Picard said that the bars will be checking IDs inside the bar as well as at the door the night of the pub crawl, ensuring that participants are of age.
Picard said she chose to organize a first semester pub crawl “because of how much fun it was last year. Everyone always asks how I ended up doing it, and I just took matters in my own hands.”
Keene Police Department’s Liaison Officer, Katie Corbett, approves of the methods Picard is using to verify the age of students. When told of Picard’s sign-up requirements, Corbett said, “That’s extremely responsible of her and that’s good to hear.”
Although the bars and the organizers of the event will be making their best attempts to ensure validity, some people such as Tiffany Mathews, coordinator of health and wellness at KSC, are concerned.
She said that if students are having one drink at each bar, it falls right into the definition of binge drinking. She pointed out that for men, that limit is five or more drinks whereas for women it’s four or more. Even though Mathews was not aware of any medical assistance being needed in past pub crawls, she said that intoxication, alcohol poisoning and dehydration are some of the risks associated with events like this.
“You’re not always able to tell how intoxicated an individual is by talking with them because of their speech or type of discussion they’re having, but I would hope that they [bar employees] would flag someone that appears to be intoxicated,” Mathews said.
Corbett explained that she hopes students know their limits and are of age, but expressed her worries of safety.
“I hate seeing students especially, anybody, ever getting put on a stretcher and brought to the hospital because they drank too much alcohol. So when you see some of these events where they were drinking seven hours a day, seven hours straight and there’s probably all kinds of deals on the bars, the biggest thing is a safety issue,” she said.
In previous pub crawl years, Corbett said that what tends to happen is seeing a couple people very intoxicated and noise becomes a bit of a problem.
“Since they’re traveling in big groups when it gets later at night, there’s a lot of yelling and screaming and people start making complaints,” Corbett commented.
Even though she doesn’t recall any major incidents happening due to earlier pub crawls, Corbett said in her few years working for KPD she’s never had to address an issue with the group as a whole.
Picard mentioned that Cobblestone and possibly other bars alike will be kicking teams out after their time is up to make sure no one is just hanging around.
According to Picard, this method may encourage participants to go home and sleep off the alcohol they drink before being allowed back into the bars.
Corbett said private businesses such as these bars “have the right to refuse people at any time, they probably don’t want to get to the point of over-serving them [students] too.”
Corbett advised being responsible and pacing one’s self during the pub crawl. “Stay together and take it easy, know your limits but staying in a group is the best thing for them [participants],” she said.
Mathews mentioned the surveys put on by the Health and Wellness Center and said “most of our students do make healthy choices when it comes to drinking so we really pride ourselves in that.”
As far as keeping track of drinks go, Mathews said “I definitely would recommend against having a drink in every bar, heeding that four or five limit just increases the risk of something dangerous to happen.”
Mathews later said that some students will keep track of their drinks by “making a little mark on the palm of their hand, others might take a cocktail napkin and put it in their pocket to keep track, they might text themselves, they might keep the beer bottle cap or can tab.”
Senior Chelsey Puza said, “I’ll probably just drink at my own pace, I know my limits and hopefully a lot of other people know their limits. I’m not worried about myself, I’m worried about them [other participants].”
Mathews also advised those attending to eat beforehand and drink non-alcoholic beverages in between alcoholic drinks. “Even when you’re drinking minimally, alcohol dehydrates you so you need to replenish that,” Mathews said.
Senior Colin Riddle said “I’m going to try to drink water and eat at the bar too.”
This year will be Riddle’s first pub crawl due to missing last year’s spring equivalent and when asked what he is expecting from the event, he said “lots of shenanigans, lots of craziness.”
Riddle and his close friends are going to be on a team, one of those friends being senior Alex Rinaldi. This will be Rinaldi’s first pub crawl as well. “I’m just excited to see what happens,” he said.
Each team will have 60 members, which is based on the maximum capacity of the smallest bar the students will visit. Mathews said a small percentage of KSC students actually participate in these pub crawls.
“It’s great to be involved in traditions at Keene State but realize that there are many traditions out there. Students shouldn’t have to feel pressured to participate in a tradition like this, there’s so many great traditions out there,” she said.
Picard considered the traditional pub crawl event a way of bringing people together.
“You’re not gonna know everybody on your team obviously, but its’ a good way to meet other people you never met before and just have a good time with your friends and get to see a bunch of the local bars that maybe you wouldn’t go to on a random weekend night,” Picard said.
Aside from having fun the day of the event, she said she’s having fun in the process of planning it. “I’m meeting a lot of people, just talking to a lot of people on campus. I’ve met so many people that I’ve never met before just kind of communicating this,” Picard said.
Picard also aspires to incorporate event planning in her future. She said working on this project is “kind of like I’m [Picard is] getting a taste.”
Puza said, “I think it will just be a fun experience to get all the seniors together in the beginning of the year.”
When asked why she created and organized the event, Picard said her intent is for everyone to have a good time. Picard said, “I’m a senior, it’s my last year so [she is] making the best of our [seniors] last year and spending time with everybody as much as we possibly can while we’re here.”
Brittany Ballantyne can be contacted at