State News

Party, Sparty: MSU students celebrate tense time with social closeness at bars

March 12, 2020, 9:13 PM

Two women repurpose protective lab gear in a timely way outside FieldHouse bar in East Lansing.
(Photo: Twitter/Matt Schmucker)

Ah, to be young and heedless in a college town where on-campus classes just were suspended for over five weeks.

That's no time for social distancing in the eyes of MSU students who choose merrymaking over medical safety.

"East Lansing bars packed following in-person class cancellation," says a headline at The State News student daily.

Following the announcement Wednesday that Michigan State was switching to an online class system through April 20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic reaching Michigan, many students celebrated by ignoring recommendations made by the university and Centers for Disease Control and took off for East Lansing bars.

Lines extended around corners and down roads, full of MSU students waiting to pile onto the dance floors of Harper’s, Rick’s, Dublin Square, FieldHouse and others in the area. ... 

Students used the opportunity to go out before boredom kicks in. ... Other students used this night as their last opportunity to spend time with friends before people start heading out of the East Lansing area.

Thursday's campus daily

The university shifted to online classes until April 20 to limit possible transmission of the coronavirus. 

The infection's name provides a bar theme too inviting to resist. Harper's Restaurant & Brew Pub discounted Corona beer to $2 on Wednesday night.

Some bar-hoppers wore surgical masks as a lark, according to the roundup by Karly Graham and Wendy Guzman. These are among Spartans quoted:

  • "There’s going to be a mass boredom. There’s not much to do, you’re kinda stuck here. When people are bored, they need something to do." -- Kyle Luce

  • "It’s funny to make a joke out of it because everyone is being so serious. But it's okay to laugh about it." -- Madison Domas

  • "MSU students like to get fucked up, even if there is a virus out here that can infect most of us." -- Kyle Kaufman

  • "We don't care, we'd rather drink. More party time." -- Stefan Gligor 

Among those reacting is a prominent MSU School of Journalism alumna ('97) who's a former ESPN personality now writing for The Atlantic:

Twitter reactions from others suggest they forget what it's like to be 21:

  • "We are doomed." -- Ricardo A. Morales

  • "Imagine risking your health to get into Harpers." -- Barton Deiters, Grand Rapids

  • "College closes due to close-proximity virus fears, so students immediately crowd into bar to drink from glasses that may not be washed thoroughly." -- Aaron Charlow, Boca Raton, Fla.

  • "It will be the lesson of their lifetimes, knowing they were given a chance to slow the coming pandemic and they didn’t take it." -- Michelle H. Burk, San Antonio

-- Alan Stamm

Read more:  The State News

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