As the fall winds down, and the College’s Greek organizations begin to host end-of-term formal events, three popular event venues in the Upper Valley have prepared for an influx of Dartmouth students. And despite past problems involving intoxicated students and underage drinking, event venues in the Upper Valley continue to open their doors to College formal events.
David Briggs, general manager and head of events at Hotel Coolidge in White River Junction, Vt., said the hotel was not opposed to hosting Dartmouth formals, even in light of last fall’s police raid of an Alpha Xi Delta sorority formal held at the hotel. Contrary to rumor, Hotel Coolidge has not banned Dartmouth organizations from holding events at the hotel.
Briggs said that the rumors have hurt his business — the hotel has not received any requests to hold formal events from Dartmouth students this term. In other years, the Hotel Coolidge would have multiple bookings by now, he said.
“Ironically, it’s based on one sorority’s behavior, and I’m penalized de facto because of this,” he said.
At the AZD formal last fall, female students asked hotel employees to call 911 when one of their friends seemed highly intoxicated, Briggs said. Police arrived at the scene with ambulances and proceeded to issue citations to 35 students they determined to be intoxicated and underage, according to a December article in The Dartmouth.
Two years ago, a female formal attendee vomited on a police officer who was standing outside of the Hotel Coolidge, Briggs said, and the hotel temporarily lost its liquor license as a result. Briggs added, however, that aside from this incident and the police raid, he has been happy with Dartmouth students’ behavior.
The problems associated with formals are usually due to drinking that takes place in Hanover before students arrive at the venue for their formal, Briggs said. He added that he understands that students drink before formal events because it is “tough or impossible” for underage students to obtain alcohol once they arrive at an off-campus venue .
Hotel employees check student identification and visually assess students attending the formal to determine if they over over-intoxicated, Briggs explained.
“The practical reality is, that if you’re not acting intoxicated when you get off the bus, you won’t get caught,” he said. “If you fall on the ground or throw up on a policeman, you’ll get caught. It’s the law of the jungle.”
Incidents at Bates Mansion, a popular formal venue in Cavendish, Vt., have mostly been “minor in nature,” according to owner and manager George Davis. Most are related to students that wander into different rooms of the house occupied by other guests, he added.
“They’re free to roam around, but we need to start having more control,” he said. “We need to monitor that a little bit more.”
Any damages are paid by the organization hosting the event, Davis said. Though Davis has never had to involve the police during a Dartmouth formal, he said that there are usually a few students “who have a few too many drinks and get a little bit rambunctious.”
Eric Gomez, marketing and promotions manager of Electra Nightclub in West Lebanon, N.H., agreed that Dartmouth students are, for the most part, well behaved. Electra Nightclub hosts four to five Dartmouth formals each year, Gomez said
The nightclub requires that guests bring government-issued identification and that the majority of students arrive on buses to prevent drunk driving.
“If anyone shows up intoxicated, we put them back on the bus,” he said. “We always have a little bit of that, but it’s a pretty rare occurrence. We’ve never had to involve local authorities.”