A TCU program seeks to provide weekend entertainment for students on campus while reducing partying in surrounding neighborhoods.
TheEnd, which began this semester, hosts Friday and Saturday night events including movie screenings, themed parties and performances by popular comedians, musicians and dancers.
Student partying off-campus affects neighbors like George Appleby, a former vice president of the Bluebonnet Place Homeowner’s Association. Appleby has lived near campus on Benbrook Boulevard for about 30 years, he said. During this time, he has watched the makeup of his neighborhood transform from about 95 percent homeowner-residents to about 50 percent owners and 50 percent renters.
“I love being around the young kids because they bring vibrancy and fun to the neighborhood, but some are on the wild side,” he said. “This has its bad points, and the first is party time.”
Appleby said crimes such as vandalism, noise, trash, and alcohol-related car accidents associated with off-campus partying are what the neighborhoods are most concerned about. He said he thinks TCU’s attempts to keep students on campus on the weekends will be a major step in getting control of things.
Brad Thompson, student activities and marketing coordinator, said on-campus programming will not eliminate off-campus partying completely, but he hopes the new program sends the message that TCU is trying to make a difference in the community.
“We have a problem at TCU. Our students are not making good choices when it comes to drugs and alcohol,” he said. “We’re being proactive and trying to provide alternatives for our students so that they’re not showing up in your neighborhood, partying all night and trashing your block.”
Program performers have included singer Mat Kearney, comedians Vanessa Bayer, Anjelah Johnson and BJ Novak, as well as the Jabbawockeez dance troupe. TheEnd has also hosted a paint party and several movie nights.
The programs have impressed students like junior business major Sam Baxter.
“The Mat Kearney concert was so awesome. I’m so glad TCU puts on these events,” he said. “It’s a great way to promote community and fun for students to see incredible artists for free.”
Thompson hopes the program impacts TCU’s culture by showing individuals they don’t have to fall into partying by default. He said it is the university’s responsibility to provide options for students with nothing to do on the weekends, and he is working with a group of student leaders to plan the events, which are funded by the campus.
An estimated 2,500 students attended Kearney’s Friday night concert in September, Thompson said. The number is more than 25 percent of TCU’s student population, meaning one in four students were on campus and not in surrounding neighborhoods that night. Several other events have filled to capacity.
“The events I’ve attended have been great,” Baxter said. “Usually, I might go out on a Friday or Saturday night, but these are definitely worth staying on campus for.”
TCU police also take note of the effects of off-campus partying. Lt. Ramiro Abad said Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest nights in terms of police activity near campus.
Abad said it is too early to gauge, but he hopes giving students somewhere to go by providing nighttime activities on campus will curtail some of the neighborhood complaints.
For a schedule of Friday and Saturday night events hosted by theEnd, visit the What2do@TCU website.