As many of you have probably heard by now, the Quarter Club is over. Kaput. After so many years of the glorified UC Irvine tradition, the opportunity is gone.
Now for those of you who are new to campus or for those of you who have never heard of the Quarter Club, let me give you a little rundown. What happened was if you were 21, you could go to the Pub every day and order a pint of any alcoholic beverage you wanted. And as long as you went every day Monday through Friday, for the entire quarter, on the last day of the quarter you would first, only have to pay a quarter for your final pint and second, have your name engraved on a gold plaque by the bathrooms. And you could do this as many times as you wanted, the longest record capping at six quarters. Financially, it would come out to somewhere between $200-$300 if you were ordering just one pint of beer during happy hour, but people like fourth year engineering major, JR Lagade sometimes got more than one pint per day, making the Quarter club a heavy but beloved investment.
But what a lot of Anteaters are asking is “why?” Why did this cherished tradition completely disappear? Well let me start off by saying no, this was not because Hospitality and Dining absorbed the Pub. The Pub is still run by Scott Winterstein, who says it is all due to “politics.”
Everything surrounding this decision was based on the safety and desires of students. From one end, we have the administrative side, fighting for the safety of the students in an effort to curb what they perceived as a danger to our health. A majority of their argument, from what I understand, revolves around the idea that they saw the Quarter Club as a gateway to alcoholism, and in the worst case, as a fatality just waiting to happen. All of which is a valid argument. We may not like it and we may argue that there’s never been a reported case of injury or fatality due to drinking at the Pub, but that possibility of “what if” is always there and it’s very easy to see where they’re coming from.
On the other hand, we have Winterstein and students, both of whom want to keep the Quarter Club and keep the Pub. For students, it’s easy to complain about the disappearance of a luxury, but many don’t know that this battle for the Quarter Club has been going on behind the scenes for several years. According to Winterstein, for a long time, different departments on campus were vying for the cease of the Quarter Club. And every quarter, Winterstein would try to defend the Club to the best of his abilities, but this year he decided to comply to prevent future concerns about the pub’s existestence.
The disappearance of the Quarter Club isn’t the only Pub perk that has gone by the wayside; Birthday Pitchers are also no more (though you can still get a pint). Due to staff’s concern over underage drinking, a Taxi service is available for anyone that needs it, and all around the Pub, posters warning about safety and alcohol consumption have recently sprouted on the walls. Anteaters young and old have expressed distress over the change of our UCI heritage. Alumnus Ryan Hays called the idea “stupid,” as he said it was “the only fun thing one could do here.” Even current students remarked on their disappointment. Rachel Evans, a fourth year psychology and social behavior major, said that she felt “frustrated” having decided to “wait for her friend to turn 21 to do it with her.” Some have even stated that they would still do the Quarter Club challenge, even if they didn’t get their name on a plaque, just to know that they did it.
Yet even though Anteaters are universally saddened to see the tradition go, the crowd at the Pub hasn’t died down one bit. “It’s cause we love the Pub,” Lagade said as he sat and sipped with his classmates on a Friday afternoon. “It’s a cool place to hang out.” And even if the words and meaning of “UCI Quarter Club” are forgotten, the tradition will remain alive in the lucky few whose names are engraved on those gold plaques that still hang by the bathroom walls.