This year’s annual pub crawl, Bridge Street Run, was met with an alternative event, OzFest, leading to fewer off-campus injuries and student arrests.
During BSR in 2014, Oswego City Police reported 27 drug or alcohol related arrests including a trolley accident that injured an intoxicated Oswego State student.
The OzFest carnival presented outside the Marano Campus Center, garnered over 1,000 students, yet “had few discipline related issues,” according to the University Police Facebook page.
A rising number of concert attendees called for extra police protection. University Police Officer Evan Proulx explained that the surplus in officers was offered to deter students from alcohol-related activities.
“A lot of people [were] at Ozfest,” Proulx said. ”When you have thousands of people it [can] get very difficult.”
As a part of the campus-wide safety plan, the Alcohol Beverage Control Agency attended the event to aid the University Police.
“In a small department like us we only have 13 officers,” Proulx said. “Since we are a state agency we have officers coming from SUNY Cortland, state troopers and border control in the area.”
In a statement made by UP, Oswego County ambulances and SAVAC, Student Association Volunteer Ambulance Corps, were on standby with two to three cars in case of emergency.
In 2014, the night of bar hopping and alcohol abuse quickly turned fatal when three Oswego state students overdosed on heroin.
One student died after being found on-campus and two were hospitalized after first responders and firefighters were connected to an off-campus address on Bridge Street.
Prepared for the worse, Proulx said that Oswego State Officers carry the nasal spray Narcan, an opiate reversal medicine, which can save a student’s life in the event of an overdose.
The crowd of white t-shirts, a tradition of Oswego State college students since the 1960s, was not far from the OzFest carnival. Students could be seen drinking alcoholic beverages at local bars before the concert.
Sophomore and public relations major Anton Deer attended the pub crawl two hours prior to the concert. Over 15 signatures were marked in blue, yellow, and black pen on Deer’s white t-shirt. He explained the bars were “empty” and that the OzFest activities were an “effective” counter to Bridge Street Run.
“It was very calm…OzFest kept people on campus,” Deer said. “Going to BSR had people of age and it was not a lot of minors trying to have fun.”
Though the bar scene is blocked to minors, at 4:30 p.m. a group of underage students were found playing loud music and drinking alcoholic beverages on Lake Ontario.
When UP crashed on this scene, the students were forced to dump their containers. All of the students were compliant to the officer’s orders and “apologized” for their behavior. None of the students were arrested that afternoon.
However, junior and public relations major Shaquille Duberry explained that the stress of finals caused his BSR partying to hit a toxic limit. This prevented Duberry from attending the concert, which he paid $45 dollars for.
“I blacked out,” Duberry said. “I was upset that I spent the money and I couldn’t go. But I had fun, it was a good day and it was nice to hang out with friends.”
Duberry explained that the local bars were well patrolled by police and there were fewer people loitering outside of the pubs this year.
An alumnus of 2011, Orlando Bridge said in past years BSR was “crazy” and included thousands of students from across the state. Bridge was “hurt” by the light turnout and explained that the bar “strip was empty.”
“It’s not the Bridge Street that I remember but I understand why they did it,” Bridge said. “I went to The Shed and there were not a lot of people there. The cops shut down a lot of stuff before it started.”
Over 2,000 Oswego State students attended the concert and OzFest Carnival.