Cochrane says Unofficial is bigger than he intended


People celebrate Unofficial Friday morning, on March 6, 2009, in Champaign. Dean Santarinala

By Alissa Groeninger

Scott Cochrane started Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day 13 years ago so students could celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, which usually fell over spring break.

Nobody thought the promotion would work because they did not think people would want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on another day, Cochrane said.

“It was for my bars and my bars only,” Cochrane said.

Cochrane said the event got out of hand before he realized it. It was hard to see the number of non-University students based on identification because University students come from all over the world.

Within a few years, other campus bars, restaurants and stores were advertising the event and selling related goods, Cochrane said.

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“Everybody’s making a buck out of it,” he said.

Cochrane said the event was designed only for University students.

He said the promotion is fun if people are responsible. If people act irresponsibly, the event could completely go away.

“It did take on a life of its own,” Cochrane said. “It’s kind of outgrown me.”