As March 17 approaches, both the University of Dayton’s administration and students wait for the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
While excitement about the celebrations have begun to build among some members of the student body for the weekend, the UD administration plans to increase police presence in the Ghetto, provide healthy alternatives to the drinking associated with the holiday and will keep UD’s residence life staff on high alert.
“We [UD] ask that you enjoy the day, but celebrate safely and responsibly,” according to an email sent to students on behalf of Chris Schramm, dean of students.
John Ashbrock, a freshman studying electrical engineering, cannot wait for his first St. Patrick’s Day experience.
He described how David Letterman explained only a few places can claim St. Patrick’s Day as their own. According to Ashbrock, legend has it that Letterman said there are four places to be on St. Patricks’s Day: Dublin, New York, Chicago and the University of Dayton.
While research online could not verify Letterman ever made such a proclamation, the quote certainly instills pride in UD’s students and adds to the mystique of the day, as evidenced by Ashbrock’s smiling face.
“I’ve heard it’s unreal,” Ashbrock said. “People say it’s the best thing ever.”
Ashbrock, a Cincinnati native, had heard stories about St. Patrick’s Days of years past before enrolling.
“I know people compare St. Patty’s Day here with Halloween at [Ohio University],” he said.
Like Halloween at OU, Ashbrock understands that college-age kids from all around the area make the trip to UD for its trademark holiday festivities.
Because of the large scale of the expected celebration, UD’s administration will beef up security for the weekend.
According to a letter from Schramm addressed to the parents and guardians of UD students, the administration is “planning a number of security measures, including extra law enforcement, agents of the Ohio State Liquor Control Board and increased staff coverage in residence halls.”
Since “in the past, this day has caused some behavioral and health concerns,” according to the letter, UD will be “providing free food and non-alcoholic activities and beverages to hydrate and nourish students.”
As stated in the letter, alternative activities include glowball dodgeball, cookouts, movies and trivia games.
“If you choose not to participate [in alcohol consumption], there’s always going to be something for you to do,” said Schramm.
According to Schramm, these policies and efforts by UD worked last year. Arrests and destructive behavior during St. Patty’s Day were “certainly down from the prior year because of all the initiatives that we did last year… I think that helped,” she said.
For students who plan on having people over on March 17, Schramm recommended taking certain precautions to protect valuable possessions.
Last year, Beta Theta Pi, a values-based Greek-letter fraternity, was concerned when members discovered a few items missing from their house.
Stolen items included the fraternity’s composite pictures, a fraternity flag, posters and awards granted to the fraternity, according to a Flyer News article.
To avoid similar thefts, Schramm said to “plan for the weekend … if you have valuables put them away.
“If you’re going to have folks over then I would suggest that if stuff is easy to steal, put it where it isn’t easy to steal,” she said.