The University of South Carolina is exploring the idea of opening a non-alcoholic club in Five Points for students to have a safe place to be at night.
“Any type of late night activity, I want students to have a safe place for them to build community, to be with their friends, to not feel like they’re missing out on things but to do it in a safe and healthy way,” said Anna Edwards, associate vice president for student life. “And ultimately that’s our goal.”
The project is still in its early stages, but the university is trying to brainstorm different ways to create a safe space in Five Points, such as a music venue or a place to go bowling. It is unknown what kind of budget would be allocated for this project.
“We’re always exploring a variety of ways to enhance late night programming that provides a healthy alternative for USC students,” said director of public relations Jeff Stensland in an email. “This is an ongoing conversation and many ideas will receive further consideration and discussion. Input from students is especially important.”
The university is looking into properties and relationships with establishments in Five Points in order to appeal to students who are already there at night.
“Five Points is intriguing because we spend so much time navigating that area with the bar owners and with some of the negative things that happen in that area,” Edwards said. “But there’s also a lot of really positive things that happen there. And it’s a draw for our students, it’s a draw for alums.”
Before the university commits to a project, Student Life wants to get feedback from students on what they would want in an off-campus club or property to go with friends, and whether they would go at all. In order to get student input, they have turned to Student Government.
“It’s very early on … but we’re gonna put a good group of students together and look into what’s possible,” Student Body President Taylor Wright said. “What would students come to in Five Points, and how can we have a safe environment … What’s the possibility of having a venue with no alcohol that’s still fun that people would go to?”
Edwards emphasized that the type of events that tend to have high attendance incorporate live music, such as Homecoming’s Cockstock.
“I’ve heard over the years the music is an important part, students go to where the bands are,” Edwards said. “People love music, and so could music be the foundation of this?”