Bar crawls help students socialize and local businesses succeed

Bar crawls are popular ways for students involved in Greek life, student organizations or just groups of friends who share a common interest to bond, socialize and have fun.

While some may think that bar crawls are just for students in the Greek system, many Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) on campus have their own bar crawls. Educational and pre-professional RSOs such as the Illinois Society of General Engineers, Actuarial Science Club, American Medical Student Association, American Advertising Federation and many others all have bar crawls.

The American Advertising Federation (AAF) just had their annual bar crawl on Tuesday. This year they went to Geovanti’s, Brothers, Firehaus and Joe’s.

President of AAF and senior in Media, Jason Houze, thinks the bar crawl gives members the chance to socialize outside of meetings.

“It’s valuable because a senior who knows a lot about advertising might talk to a sophomore who just got into the major,” said Houze.

However, the University of Illinois does have policies regarding RSOs and alcohol. RSOs may sponsor bar crawls as long as “the sponsoring organization and all attendees adhere to all federal, state, local, and university rules, laws, and policies.”

They may not use organization funds to purchase alcohol or promote the availability of alcohol. Also, alcohol should not be the sole purpose of an event, according to the Office of Registered Student Organizations’ website.

In the case of RSO bar crawls, drinking is not the only reason that students go.

“You get to hang out with all your friends and see different people at every bar,” said Jenna Kirk, a sophomore in LAS.

Bars crawls can help strengthen an organization and help members get to know each other better. They also allow professional organizations to provide more than just meetings, helping make bar crawls popular events on campus.

“Usually every night we have a bar crawl come through,” said Beth Hallengren, event planner at Joe’s.

According to Hallengren, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are all very popular nights for bar crawls.

“A lot of times people come in ahead and buy bottles or one or two dollar you-call-its, so they don’t have to pay when they come,” Hallengren said.

If bar crawls come through on Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights, Joe’s charges cover just as the bar would for any other patron.

Usually bar crawls have around 50 or 60 people, so Joe’s makes a good profit from them, Hallengren said.

One of the aspects of a bar crawl is every person in the group typically wears matching T-shirts that represent the overall theme of the event. Te’ shurt’ and Weiskamp are two stores on campus that students usually go to for making and ordering their shirts.

According to Matt Brooker, employee at Weiskamp, bar crawl T-shirts are a pretty big part of the store’s business.

“We get a lot of e-mails from people ordering bar crawl shirts,” Brooker said.

Shirts usually run about $10 when a minimum amount are ordered and are often the best way to help the organization stand out as a group.

Bar crawls help stores and bars on campus earn a profit as well as provide a fun and memorable social outing for students in many organizations across campus.