Bloomsburg University alumnus and former town mayor Dan Knorr worries about the negative perception Block Party has been creating with people in the community and beyond.
“Some of the worst behavior isn’t BU students, but students are the ones hosting the event and it reflects poorly on them,” said Knorr, who is now the director of external relations at the university. “One of the big negatives is that it draws in so many people from outside of town, especially now through social media.”
For one weekend of the year, the town of Bloomsburg becomes an unrivaled party destination. While students bask in the warm weather and local bars rake in revenue, many town residents steer clear of their own downtown.
“It’s a shame to see our town practically being overrun with partying college students,” said Ruby Miller, a local resident who has lived in Bloomsburg for more than 20 years. “During that weekend, it’s nearly impossible for me to go anywhere up town. The local residents just stay in their homes for two days. I know of some parents who are leaving for the weekend just because of it.”
A horde of students — a sizeable portion of whom are not BU students — consuming alcohol and roaming the town is bound to cause concern. A steady rise in incidences like disorderly conduct, which has nearly doubled from 22 on Block Party Saturday in 2011 to 37 in 2015, perpetuates this negative perception.
“Unfortunately it definitely puts a negative perception on students,” said Knorr. “People pick up the local newspaper and see only the worst of the worst behavior.”
According to Town Police Chief Roger Van Loan, approximately 75 to 80 percent of arrests made are not BU students but rather those coming in from other schools and elsewhere.
But as Knorr points out, these outsiders are also often drinking at parties hosted by BU students.
Are you hosting a party Saturday? How many non-BU students do you expect to attend? Do you open your doors to strangers, or keep your party limited to those you know? Let us know.
This article originally appeared on BlockPartyInsider.wordpress.com, a project for Mass Communications’ Spring 2016 Journalism Workshop. You can view all of the workshop’s work there.