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(March 22, 2001, Gazette)

Breezeway changing
to meet students’ needs

Mary MacGillivrayBy Mary MacGillivray

One of the largest bars in Newfoundland, the new Breezeway in the Smallwood Centre on the St. John’s campus, is commonly filled to its capacity of over 1,000 people on Thursday and Friday nights. With twice the capacity of the old Breezeway in the TSC, the new bar opened for business on Dec. 31, 1999, with an open and modern layout that is geared towards a dance bar style.

While this is great for students who want that sort of thing, ideas like an open mic night, a healthy serving of alternative music, and a cozy atmosphere such as that at Bitters, the GSU bar, have seemed but a gleam in the Breezeway's eye, until now.

As a venue for all students to relax and be entertained, the new Breezeway was initially falling short. It seemed that if a student didn't feel like drinking a Budweiser while listening to loud dance music, the new Breezeway had little else to offer other than a bunch of TV's hanging from the ceiling with the sound turned down.

Of course many students are very happy with the atmosphere of the new Breezeway and have no complaints at all; others have been a little less enchanted with the mood the place had to offer. Thankfully, the Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union (MUNSU) along with manager of the Breezeway, Paul Butt, and other Breezeway staff members are working to offer a more diverse venue for students.

Owned and operated by MUNSU, decisions about the Breezeway are handled in part by MUNSU vice-president (executive) Derek Nowak. Aware of the need for MUNSU to offer entertainment as a service to students, Mr. Nowak said, “an effort is being made to appeal to a wider range of students.” While some may choose not believe this claim, and go off on a tangent about politics, in viewing the weekly lineup at the Breezeway, it is evidently true.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights have been scheduled as pub nights where the size of the bar is reduced for a more cozy, pub-like atmosphere. There is a small menu to order from, Irish draught such as Guinness is served on tap at a low price, and traditional music is featured – sometimes in the form of live entertainment. Wednesday night is also called open mic night, where students can entertain with a song or joke. Thursday night is dance night, where DJs (a lot of whom are students of Memorial) play dance music such as rap and R&B. Friday night is alternative music night where there is no cover charge and local bands such as Sunday Noise, Margarita's Calling, The Punters, and Sundriver, take the stage.

At the Breezeway the drink prices at the bar are kept low compared to regular rates downtown, and there is usually no cover charge for a night of entertainment. Profits go towards the various student events and services of MUNSU such as live musical entertainment, the copy center, the food court, cameramun, the attic, a second-hand bookstore, and the childcare centre. While esthetically the new Breezeway may unfortunately remind one of a cafeteria at times, with a little more time and attention to detail, this can change.

Of MUNSU, Mr. Nowak said they are “always brainstorming to come up with new ideas about how to provide the best venues for students to enjoy at the Breezeway.” It’s also a positive bonus that the money made at the Breezeway goes back to students in one way or another. Also, the Breezeway employs only full-time students.

So for students who have problems with the Breezeway, have a little faith that MUNSU wants to hear what you think. Of course some people just want to complain anyhow and wouldn't want anyone to change a thing, as then they would lose their muse and have nothing to carry on about. The MUNSU is coming up with some creative ideas about the workings of the Breezeway; as a student, I've already offered my suggestions and it is nice to be heard.

As for any suggestions, questions or comments, V.P. Executive Derek Nowak welcomes the ideas of fellow students. E-mail
v79tan@mun.ca or phone 737-7638 ext. 204.

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