OSWEGO, NY – Last year’s Bridge Street Run seemed to be the event to end all others, and apparently it did.
To combat participation in the BSR this year, SUNY Oswego’s Student Association Programming Board and the Student Association created OzFest.
From 2 to 6 p.m. free activities, including bungee jumping, stuff-a-buddy, a mechanical bull, and a dunk tank booth, to name a few, were offered to students, along with free food from the school’s auxiliary services.
And college students, many of which will graduate with a substantial amount of debt for a degree that will not land them a job in their field of study, appreciate free stuff.
On top of the free activities and food, SAPB and the Student Association also brought big name artists Big Sean, Mac Miller, B.o.B., and Timeflies to the school with the disclaimer that students were not permitted to bring alcohol and that students who appeared drunk would not be permitted entry into the concert.
Now, I have faith in my fellow students’ ability to be intoxicated without it being obvious, so undoubtedly the latter rule was written in vain.
Although, on campus, before the actual day of Bridge Street Run, students were all in agreement that the college had gifted them a near-perfect BSR. It seemed that most students would attend OzFest, BSR and the concert.
Even longtime residents were skeptical.
However, oddly enough, OzFest and the concert not only kept most students on campus, but also reduced the number of participants in Bridge Street Run dramatically.
Even with some students taking advantage of OzFest before heading to the bars, the number of white shirts on Bridge Street was so few that by nighttime one bar eliminated its cover charge to entice students to come inside.
Students also had the privilege of elbow room in all of the bars, an elusive thing that is rarely available during non BSR weekends.
All in all, BSR looked like a normal day.
The suffocating sea of white T-shirts from previous years seemed like nothing more than a distant memory.
Furthermore, not only were the numbers fewer, but, from what I observed and from local reports, violent activity was kept low.
From my time on Bridge Street during BSR, it appeared that most students had gone out of their way to disprove the opinions of locals by peacefully participating in BSR and saving their excited behavior for the bars.
Fraternities and student houses even posted “Must be 21 to drink” signs.
Additionally, students were seen having friendly conversations with Oswego police, all of which were not only pleasant, but approachable and extremely visible on all of Bridge Street.
I can’t help wanting to congratulate the college, specifically SAPB and the Student Association on a successful beginning to ending BSR entirely.
Apparently, it’s not preventing the purchase of white T-shirts that ends longstanding traditions, it’s free food and teddy bears.
And honestly, most students would have to agree that receiving free things is a much better way to end the semester than paying money for watered-down alcohol served in tiny plastic cups.
Here’s to next year, another successful OzFest, the chance to dunk the group members who failed you at the dunk tank booth, and mending the college’s relationship with its greater community.
(Christina Scriber contributes entertainment/feature news to Oswego County Today. Please feel free to contact her through the Comments section.)