Student body president Ryan Lizanecz ’20 has promised an on-campus bar since his initial campaign as a means of creating what he referred to as “a social place for upperclassmen.”
He believes that a bar on campus can act as an alternative to the Blue Goose, a popular Lewiston-based establishment among Bates students ages 21 and over. Despite creating an inherent barrier between upper and lower classmen, Lizanecz maintains the notion that this bar is not about division, but rather the unification of the upperclassmen.
Lizanecz understands that such a project does not happen overnight, but can take years to accomplish. During initial conversations with the College Administration, Lizanecz learned that Bates would need to acquire another liquor license. Bates already has a liquor license, though it only applies to scheduled events on campus, not a full-time and regulated bar.
The development of an on-campus bar would be subject to the same rules and regulations as any other bar in Lewiston. The process of gathering permits and licenses would take a few years; therefore, Lizanecz and his team have come up with a trade-off that can act as a substitute in the meantime–Thursday’s at the Ronj.
Thursdays at the Ronj would be able to serve alcohol through the specialized liquor license provision as the event would be marketed as a special Thursday night occasion. Thursday’s at the Ronj would run similar to events held through Club 280. Lizanecz believes Thursdays would “create a compromise which will keep the promise made, while at the same time work toward a larger goal.”
Before these plans move forward, Lizanecz wants to make sure the student assembly is in agreement. He is hoping to hear feedback about how to improve these plans from the new assembly. Lizanecz does not want this year to be about his agenda, but rather the agenda of the entire assembly and student community at Bates.
So far, the new assembly has had only one meeting, but Lizanecz is very excited about the “down-to-earth” and “ready-to-get-to-work” vibes coming from this new group.
Ryan Lizanecz believes that his job as President, as well as the responsibility of the entire assembly, is to be an “advocate on behalf of the students and to pressure the administration to take action in favor of the students.” Lizanecz, now in his final year at Bates, is enthusiastic about the potential of ideas this new group can fulfill.
He states that “Working together as a team to get big issues done on campus” is another primary goal for the upcoming year. Some specific plans and topics discussed in the first student assembly meeting included improvements in Bates’ textbook buyback system, expansion of weekend athletics facilities hours, active mental health awareness among students, and student concerns when it comes to CAPS–specifically, the difficulties in making appointments both during non-busy and high stress times like finals and exam week.
Additionally, Lizanecz would like to investigate why in certain situations EMS is not called due to financial concerns.
Overall, Lizanecz’s personal as well as group goals for the 2019-2020 year include talking, listening, accomplishing, and making sure the student government does not evolve into an “us against them” mentality.
Teamwork and collaboration are core values that exist in the greater Bates community and are principles that are highly represented in the agenda of both the student body president and the community-elected representatives.