In a move aimed at bringing students back to campus, officials are considering a plan to reinstate student bartenders at a once-popular campus hangout.

The plan would allow students to serve as bartenders at special events at Hoya’s, which was a popular watering hole until 1999, when the university decided to convert the Leavey Center space into a restaurant.

The proposed changes have been spearheaded by GUSA senior representative Jeff Burns (COL’01) and junior representative Brian Walsh (COL ’02), who have been working closely with Director of Food and Beverages Jeanie Quirk, and the Marriott employees who are responsible for running Hoya’s.

Vice president for student affairsDr. Juan Gonzales said he had not officially approved any plans concerning Hoya’s.

“Hopefully, Hoya’s will become a place for all students to go,” Walsh said. “People want a place to go on campus, where if they’re 21 they can drink if they choose to, but we don’t want this to become just a senior bar. It should be a place for all students to come and enjoy themselves”

Until the spring of 1999, Hoya’s was a popular hangout for students of all ages, especially on Thursday nights when students tended bar. However, in the wake of an altercation that involved a student being struck in the head by a beer bottle, university officials discovered that the bar had become a popular drinking spot for underage students. As a result, students under 21 where banned from the bar on Thursday nights and during all other student-sponsored events.

Subsequent to these events, the bar underwent renovations aimed at attracting an older crowd of professionals and graduate students, and raised its prices to levels inaccessible to students, Walsh said. Since the implementation of these changes, student bartender nights and other student-run events have ended, and Hoya’s has all but ceased to be a student hangout.

However, in recent months GUSA representatives have been working to make Hoya’s a student bar once again. Prices have been lowered to compete with other popular student bars such as Champion’s, Chadwick’s and The Tombs. Walsh said Hoya’s will now be offering specials on drinks and food to entice students. The bar has been renovated with new lighting and a new sound system to allow for music and dancing, and sports memorabilia and neon signs will be added to make the atmosphere more comfortable for students.

Currently, Hoya’s holds a late night happy hour at which all students 18 and older are welcome. However, GUSA announced this past week that student bartender nights will be reinstated, and are tentatively scheduled to begin on Friday, Feb. 2. Furthermore, future efforts are being made to incorporate Hoya’s into student programming, with events being scheduled in conjunction with other on campus programming like basketball games and theater productions.

“Hoya’s wants to support student programming, and we will support that in any way we possibly can,” Quirk said. “If that means student bartenders, or karaoke night, or a new collection of CD’s so that students can dance, we are willing to do that.”

Student response to this news has been positive.

“I think it’s a great idea to try and bring students on campus,” Whitney McWilliams (MSB ’04) said. “It will really promote some unification between different classes.”

“I think Hoya’s absolutely needs more life, and I think bringing in the students will liven it up a lot,” said Hoya’s patron Jeremy Peck (GRD ’03). “I used to come here when there were a lot more activities for all students, but they should take it even further.”

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