The nightlife at a university is an integral part of many students’ college experience. Many students reach or surpass the legal drinking age, so campuses tend to host a vast population of inexperienced alcohol consumers. That is why many schools, including Hofstra, offer services and resources to protect students who participate in these activities. However, as local establishments continue to close, students are going to great lengths to enjoy a night out; for some, the risks are inherent.
“I’m surprised I haven’t been in an accident yet,” said Robin Pereira, a junior journalism major.
“There’s no nightlife in this area, so my friends and I have to drive to other places to go. Although the driver always promises to sober up, it’s a chance you may take when getting in the car with someone who has been drinking,” Pereira said. “The only other option is to take an Uber or a cab, but that can get very expensive.”
Pereira tends to travel to entertainment establishments in Rockville Center or Garden City, neither of which are within jurisdiction of the Night Shuttle services, which according to the Hofstra website, runs “… through the neighborhoods surrounding Hofstra during the overnight hours.” The route is restricted to the areas of Hempstead and Uniondale.
According to an article published in the Long Island Report in March 2016, the Village of Hempstead mayor and board of trustees enforced an initiative to eradicate the underage service in bars on Hempstead Turnpike, leading to undercover operations at Daddy Locos Inc., McHebes, Dizzy Lizard and Bangers. Daddy Locos Inc., McHebes and Dizzy Lizard have since stopped operating.
Trustee Donald L. Ryan was quoted as saying, “the mayor has made this a priority.”
“At our town hall meetings, people come and blast the mayor. They demand a higher quality of life,” Ryan said.
Alyssa Rodriguez, a senior studying speech-language-hearing sciences, said she often travels to establishments in Queens as the options are so limited near campus.
“It makes it difficult to make plans, have a social life outside of campus when the only bar isn’t necessarily the best option when deciding on a Friday or Saturday night out.”
Bangers, the single bar students are now limited to on Hempstead Turnpike, has a poor reputation among Hofstra students, driving even more young people to get in their cars to find a new location.
“… I would definitely think it would make it more difficult for more students to go out, and I think that students liked the fact that Hofstra had a considerably good social life that was [in]walking distance until all the bars started shutting down and now are forced to rethink their nights out on weekends. It just makes going out more work than it should be,” Rodriguez said.
Under Safety Tips on the Public Safety webpage, a subcategory titled “Navigating the Social Scene: BEFORE YOU GO OUT TO A BAR OR CLUB, READ THIS!” details warnings to students regarding safe travel and transportation suggestions, including, “Make sure you have enough money for cab fare to get you home safely at the end of the evening” and “Know how to get there and more importantly, how you will get home safely at 2 or 3 a.m.”
The site also encourages students to call Public Safety in the case of an emergency, but for immediate assistance off-campus, students are urged to call 911.
“We cannot ensure anything but advise students on safe practices. Public Safety officers do watch for any signs that someone may be driving under the influence, and if necessary, will work with local police to address the situation,” Director of Public Safety Karen O’Callaghan said.