As Bloomsburg’s infamous block party weekend approaches, those including students, community members, town police, business owners, and members of the media have questions to be answered.
On Thursday, March 26, BU Now held its very first event – the Block Party Information session. Although the crowd was smaller than expected, questions continued to fire like rockets to the panelists of block party insiders. The panel consisted of: Dan Knorr, mayor of Bloomsburg, Chief Leo Sokoloski of the Bloomsburg PD, Chief Robert Klinger of BUPD, Preston Herring, Vice President of Student Affairs, Charlotte Michaels of the National Panhellenic Council, and Joshua Trusty of the Interfraterniy Council.
The session began with an opening question as to what behavior is to be expected of Bloomsburg students.
“Behavior at block party is no different than your own hometown,” said Chief Sokoloski. “That is what makes the town unique.”
According to the panelists, last year’s block party was an excellent indication of what is to be expected at this year’s festivities.
“These events bring people together,” said Chief Sokoloski. “We are here to protect you, not to target any one individual.”
In 2007, there were approximately 110 arrests, seven of them being Bloomsburg University students.
According to Michaels, organizations who sell wristbands should be particular about who they sell them too.
Every organization is given a certain amount of wristbands. However, they may sell them at their own price. Wristbands will be sold the day of the event in the lot behind East Street at established permit areas, and by members of the Greek community.
According to Michaels and Trusty, the lot behind East Street will be a non-alcoholic event. Any and all of those admitted will need to obtain a wristband by those securing the blocked in area. These members include law enforcement and members of Greek life. A band will perform from noon to 3 p.m. and a DJ will continue afterwards until 6 p.m.
“Wristbands are neither a waiver nor an allowance,” according to Chief Sokoloski.
Underage students who obtain a wristband are still subject of violation.
“We do not target,” said Chief Sokoloski. “If someone looks as if they aren’t 21, they will be carded.”
“It’s really just common sense,” said Mayor Knorr.
The panelists made clear to its audience that the main purpose of enforcing specific rules is to ensure every block party participant makes it through the day’s partying safely.
Although a specific number was not disclosed, Chief Sokoloski and Chief Klinger explained that there will be a significant amount of law enforcement located at both on and off campus settings. Those who draw attention to themselves, who are loud and obscene, and are highly intoxicated, will be cited.
The same goes for designated parties. Facilities who plan to admit over 150 people must acquire a permit 14 days in advance. Those interested in obtaining such a permit can get one at the town hall.
A permit is not required if no alcohol will be provided.
In accordance with the town permit, the designated departure time of block party is 6 to 6:30 p.m.; a noise ordinance will be placed at 11 p.m.
Any party can and will be shut down if: A. participants are severely intoxicated; B. there any reports of injury; C. go against any form of good common sense; and D. have exceeding amounts of individuals and do not obtain a permit.
According to panelists, there will be food vendors and port-a-potties placed around block party events.
“Although not necessarily the easiest thing to do, students do clean up the mess the day after block party,” said Herring. “Students taking responsibility means everything in the world.”
Clean-up times are open to anyone willing to participate and will begin at 11 a.m. To sign up, please contact Greek Life.
“Cleaning up Sunday really shows something to members of the community,” said Mayor Knorr.
Editor’s Note: As a representative from BU Now’s community and as a veteran block party participant, I urge everyone to have a fantastically fun and surely safe block party.
Hope to see everyone out there!