Student Government votes to reinstate alcohol in LBJ

Audrey+Busch%2C+art+education+freshman+and+Geroge%27s+employee%2C+conversing+with+Alex+Humphrey%2C+animal+science+freshman%2C+over+lunch%2C+Feb.+10%2C+2020.

Chase Rogers

Audrey Busch, art education freshman and Geroge's employee, conversing with Alex Humphrey, animal science freshman, over lunch, Feb. 10, 2020.

Ziek Sanchez, News Reporter

Alcohol sales could be restored to George’s following a vote by Student Government.

A resolution calling for the sale of alcoholic beverages was unanimously approved during the Feb. 3 Student Government meeting after alcohol sales in George’s halted September 2019. Student Government hopes the reintroduction of alcohol in the LBJ Student Center George’s will increase attendance and improve interactions between the university and its students.

Named after Southwest Texas State University alumni George Strait, George’s is located on the first floor of the LBJ Student Center and serves as a hangout spot on campus to relax or study. It houses televisions, couches, ping pong tables, pool tables and a snack bar. The room also holds late-night weekend events, giving students a place to socialize.

George’s has been licensed to sell alcohol in the past, but according to Assistant Director of George’s Sylvia Reyes, the staff’s inability to sell alcoholic beverages caused significant inconveniences. In order for alcohol to be sold in George’s it had to be sold to customers by an employee from Chartwells, the university’s catering service, which employs separately from LBJ.

George’s staff consists of mostly student workers employed by the LBJ Student Center, so finding a Chartwells employee was a troubling process, according to employees. In the past, Blimpies was the easiest place to quickly find a Chartwell employee. Because Blimpies was relocated away from the LBJ Student Center September 2019, this solution is no longer viable. With no Chartwells employees in close proximity to George’s, the process of selling alcohol became problematic.

Reyes said she believes the inclusion of alcohol would not have significant impact on attendance and sales.

“I don’t think the sales were worth it. The selection wasn’t great and timing was inconvenient for the customer. I don’t think people (saw) George’s and thought ‘I’m going to go there to drink,’” Reyes said. “I think most of the customers are first-year students, so I’m not 100% sure that alcohol sales would increase attendance or sales.”

Student Government’s now-passed resolution will go to Student Government President Corey Benbow’s desk to be either signed or vetoed. If signed, the legislation will be sent to the Vice President of Student of Affairs Joanne Smith for consideration.

Benbow said he believes the legislation will help George’s become a more popular place for gathering even though it’s frequently visited by underage students.

“Just because a particular crowd frequently visits George’s does not mean George’s is isolated to that crowd. Perhaps selling alcohol will interest other people and cause them to visit the space,” Benbow said. “Like any other venue on other campuses where alcohol is served in the presence of underaged students, it’s still a place for everyone.

Liah Brown, nursing sophomore and George’s employee, said she believes alcohol could increase attendance and sales.

“Selling alcohol here would definitely increase sales. So many people are already asking about it,” Brown said. “It’s hard to distinguish who is visiting George’s. I would say it’s mostly freshmen, but a lot of upperclassmen are still asking for alcohol.”

According to Reyes, if George’s sells alcohol again, proper licenses to sell and distribute will need to be acquired and staff will have to train under the terms of new contracts. If demand arises for craft beer or other specialty alcohol, notable changes in infrastructure and operation would be considered.

To read more about George’s visit the LBJ Student Center’s website.

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