Certainly the biggest plot twist of this year is how the basement of 280 has become a “club” and is now the place to be on weekend nights. It was great seeing the look on all the back-from-abroad juniors’ faces when they heard that not only is Club 280 a thing, but a popular thing, too. No one alum will believe you when you tell them that the line to get into Club 280 is longer than the line to get into off-campus parties. Yet here we are, where Club 280 has become a staple in the Bates party scene.

A lot of factors go into why this happened. The Lewiston Police Department is not exactly approving of off-campus parties, and Bates Security is not exactly approving of on-campus parties. So next thing you know, Campus Life offers free alcohol to anyone of age, so long as they drink it in the 280 basement and mix in free pizza for all students. Then, they enlist Peter Cottingham and the DJ Society to provide ‘club music.’ They even recently added new speakers and fancy lighting to really dive deep into the ‘club’ aspect of Club 280. There were a lot of questions leading up the first Club 280 event of 2018. Will people go? Will it be ‘cool?’ Will it be fun? Who knows!?

Turns out, free alcohol is enough to get the people going, and the DJ Society created a perfect vibe to get people to stay. Very few schools give free alcohol to their students, and we are very lucky that not only does Bates give free alcohol, but they give it relatively often. Furthermore, there weren’t only people 21 and over who came; all class years came and jumped around for an hour or two. Unfortunately, this past weekend’s alcohol choices were PBR and Coors Light, which is not ideal compared to the hard cider and craft beer options last semester, but this fact didn’t deter the crowd. Honestly, what is more fun than having campus celebrities like Carson Dockum and Catie Moran serve you alcohol? Plus, the amazing Franky fist bumps you as he keeps the place clean for us!

Nonetheless, there is a larger issue about partying on and off campus and the students’ relationship with the police and security. Club 280 is not a perfect alternative, at least from the student’s perspective. Campus Life loves it because they can contain the drinking among students and even watch out for drunk kids easily. The lights come on at 1AM which sends everyone home or to the den and makes the local community happy, but also attempts to force students to end their night. Furthermore, they have a large staff watching and making sure everything is going smoothly. It’s great to have a support staff, but trying to carelessly dance while there are adults watching is not easy. In addition, Club 280 does not permit underage students from drinking on the premises, thus doing nothing to address these students’ potential binge drinking before arriving.

Who knows, maybe everything will change again and Club Pettengill Atrium will become a thing. For now, Club 280 is a surprisingly fun time regardless. There’s good music, free alcohol, free pizza and a friendly ‘club-lite’ vibe. What more can we ask for?

People are eating Tide Pods and the 280 Basement is the spot. It’s a weird time.