Partying amid a pandemic

Block Party plans emerge despite the uptick in cases

Abigail Prichett, Assistant Growl Editor

Block Party. These two words bring images of loud, drunken college students yelling, dancing, and of course, drinking, to mind. Whether or not you’ve been to the infamous Block Party, you’re definitely familiar with it. Started in 1993 by Theta Chi as a fundraiser for the Women’s Center, it has devolved into an obnoxious gathering unanimously hated by Bloomsburg townspeople.

Each year, around the third weekend of April, thousands of college students from across the state gather for almost three days of partying. Numerous arrests dot this hellish weekend and often the police are forced to use tear gas in order to break up large crowds. A quick YouTube search will show dozens of videos from Block Party in past years. Many show students binge drinking with police horses sticking out amongst the crowds. In the past year, rowdy students have even thrown objects at the horses, as well.

Though Block Party is known as a revered tradition among many Bloomsburg University students and alumni, it has not done much in giving our town a more positive image. In fact, back in 2007, a clip from Block Party was featured on TruTV’s “Most Daring.” In the clip, we see a man standing on an overhanging roof, chugging beer and tossing the empty cans into the screaming crowd below. There are also multiple videos of the riot vehicles, tear gas, fights, and generally terrible behavior.

Last year, Block Party was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past few months, many were unsure whether or not it would even take place this year, as the pandemic is still ongoing. But despite recent rises in COVID-19 cases, Block Party is still taking place at its usual time and location.

This is, quite frankly, a terrible idea and could potentially result in a large spike of cases here in Bloomsburg. I know that students are itching for a party like this, as we’ve been in this pandemic for well over a year. I understand how it feels to be going absolutely stir crazy.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea – or right – to hold a Block Party this year. The idea of thousands of people packed together, drunk and high out of their minds, does not elicit a positive response.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Block Party, even before COVID-19 was a thing. I remember seeing the trash littering the streets each year, red solo cups on the sidewalks and Bud Light cans on the lawns. I remember students screaming at the tops of their lungs at two in the morning while I was studying. I remember needing to show my ID every single time I entered my dorm.

Honestly, I wouldn’t mind Block Party if people showed an ounce of respect for the town instead of treating it like absolute shit. You’re an adult, so act like one. Clean up after yourself and remember that this is a town where people live, not your garbage can.

Remember that if you choose to go to Block Party this year, you’re putting yourself and everyone you come in contact with at risk. That includes your parents, your grandparents, your friends, your siblings, and anyone else you may be around.

COVID-19 isn’t a joke and I’m tired of people acting like it is. I’ve seen perfectly healthy, young people develop problems that they will most likely have for the rest of their lives because of this virus.

Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you’re invincible, even if it feels that way. Block Party is a large part of BU’s history, but that doesn’t mean it needs to take place in the middle of a pandemic.

If you do go to the Block Party this weekend, mask up! Block Party is a massive gathering of people and you never know if the person next to you is sick. Look at spring break in Florida as a valid example of this. The numerous videos of people stating that they have COVID-19 yet they’re still partying would be enough to deter me.
This should be a given, but don’t share your drinks, vapes, blunts, pens, etc. I would say social distance, but that’s going to be difficult given the fact that it’s a tight space with a large number of people in it.

For all the ladies: watch your drinks! It only takes a millisecond for someone to slip something into your drink when you’re not looking. Remember that if you choose to drink underage, you are taking a huge risk and will likely get an underage from the police.

Speaking of the police, their presence is expected to be very heavy given the current pandemic. They will be around constantly and will be heavily monitoring the area. All in all, if you’re going to party (and I strongly suggest that you don’t), realize that there could be heavy consequences waiting for you. Stay safe everyone.