Morgantown: A Drinking Town that might have a Drinking Problem

By. Joe Lipovich

West Virginia University students love their beer. We drink it all the time. We drink during tailgates, snow days, sunny days, rainy days, or any type of weather. We drink when we win, we drink when we lose, and sometimes even in ties. We love our beer, and it shows when we are rated a the top of playboy’s party school rankings every year. Even our football coach likes the more-than occasional ale. According to CBSSports.com, Morgantown consumes 1% of Anheuser-Busch’s (AB) alcohol sales.

But what type of beer do students drink? Where do they buy it from? How does the product get from producer to consumer? We took a convenience survey of 65 students, and asked them a few questions.

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Firstly, according to our survey, 42 percent of students surveyed purchased a beer outside of the “big three” beers, Coors, Miller and Budweiser. Although Coors and Miller have merged, they still fall second to AB in overall beer sales. 29% of students most commonly purchase Natural Light, AB’s lower-end cheap beers. Only three students says that they prefer Coors over the other beer choices. Although “other” was an option on the survey and doesn’t necessarily reflect this, it’s a good sign for craft brewers looking to import their product into Morgantown.

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The largest beer-sellers in the Downtown area; Dairy Mart, Ashebrooke Liquors, and BF Liquors by the post office surprisingly did not account for the majority of the beer sales in Morgantown. 48% of students who reported buying alcohol reported that they purchase their golden goodness outside of the downtown areas. This isn’t necessarily surprising, because a student can purchase a “thirty-rack” of Natural Light at Wal-Mart for $13.99, and Dairy Mart charges around $18.00 for the same product.

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It’s not surprising that most students choose to consume their beer out of a can. According to our survey, 63% of students consume their beer out of a can. Surprisingly, however, students did not report drinking as much keg beer as we thought they might have, as 31% of students surveyed that they drank beer from a bottle, and only 6% drank from a keg.

Although buildings like University Place have shut down the historic SunnySide neighborhood, Morgantown will always be a drinking town. However, new legislation such as “home rule” could affect the beer market in this town. Regardless, let’s rais our can, glass, or whatever you choose to the massive beer vat that is Morgantown, WV.

Graduation: What is next?

So here it is, my final post on the Gentleman’s Guide to Morgantown. While it saddens me that this is the last time I will be writing on here it is also a feeling of relief because graduation is right around the corner. Graduation is a major turning point in a person’s life. It symbolizes that they have had the discipline to do well enough in school to learn and are ready to begin a career.

The last few weeks of college are full of things to do. Places you want to visit one last time, people to say goodbye too, all of the things you won’t be able to do everyday as you once did.

However, larger thing lay ahead. Once you have graduated the next steps you need to take are finding a job and adapting to life that doesn’t involve going to class and the bars.

West Virginia University offers career service counseling to all students. These counselors can help you find a job that fits your skills and interests as well as read over your resume and help you perfect it so you land that dream job.

“Finding a job straight out of college isn’t always the easiest thing to do, there is lots of competition out there all competing for the same job. You have to make yourself standout,” said Luke Hinegardner, a senior geology major.

Other students plan on continuing their education by going on to graduate school. Those next few years will full of intensive work and research.

“Medical school is next on my list of things to do. I am really excited to begin the next step in my education but I know that it will be full of hard work and long hours but I know it will be worth every second,” said Justin Trippe, a WVU senior.

Whatever the next step in life is for you, college has imparted you with knowledge that no classroom can give you. Learning to live on your own and balancing school with work and your social life will all translate into valuable lessons that you can carry on into your professional life.

So as you prepare to walk across the stage and receive that diploma that you worked on for what seemed an eternity, remember that it has prepared you for the next chapter in your life and for us here at WVU, you are always a Mountaineer.

Overcrowding in the Mountainlair, is it Only Going to Get Worse?

Other than Woodburn, the Mountainlair, WVU’s Student Union, might be the most recognizable building in the downtown campus. It has a great name, good places to eat, a bank, and even an entire games area complete with a bowling alley and pool hall.

Yes, the Mountainlair sure does provide students with a great place to hang out, but with the University’s plan to increase the number of students to 40,000, is the Lair, as it’s affectionally  called, in danger of not being able to support this change?

WVU's Student Union, the Mountainlair. Image courtesy of transportation.wvu.edu
WVU’s Student Union, the Mountainlair. Image courtesy of transportation.wvu.edu

The Lair already sees crazy long lines at its restaurants during prime hours such as lunch and dinner. You will also be hard pressed to find a table to sit at if you come to the Lair between the hours of noon-2 p.m. If the Lair is having these issues at the current student population, which is around 32,000, how is it supposed to handle a increase of another 8,000 students?

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WVU Senior Matt Schahfer says the overcrowding can be problematic when you’re trying to grab a bite in-between classes.

“This problem is especially frustrating when I have 10-15 minutes between classes and I’m trying to get lunch. I have been late to class more times than I can count because of the long lines for food and I know many people that have experienced this same thing,” said Schahfer.

This is a similar issue to a former post of mine, in which I discussed overcrowding at the Student Rec Center at WVU. Now, the easy solution is to just expand these buildings to compensate for the increase in students. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. There is not much room for expansion where the Lair currently sits and the only other option would be to build another Student Union entirely, which is a big investment.

Hopefully, WVU figures out how to solve their overcrowding problems in places such as the Lair and the Rec Center before they expand and become an even bigger University. For now, students will have to continue to avoid the big lines so they can get there food and get to class on time.

Alan Lindsay: Morgantown’s “Black Sheep” cab driver

By Ryan Petrovich

It’s no secret, the lone taxi service in Morgantown, Yellow Cab has people pulling their hair out. Constant complaints, horrendous online reviews and at times negative social media comments in regard to their service shows that this company isn’t ideal.

“My boyfriend and I in the first semester (of this year) took it (Yellow Cab) from around Arnold (Hall) to Campus Evolution,” said Anya Thompson as freshman social work major at West Virginia University. “He (a cab driver for Yellow Cab) came super late and he was really sketchy.”

One taxi driver, however, breaks the mold. Alan Lindsay, a Yellow cab taxi driver for two years and a cab driver for 30 plus years is different than most cabbies in Morgantown.

The self-procliamed “Black Sheep” taxi driver, Lindsay no longer response to the dispatching system like most taxi cab drivers do. Lindsay has built personal relationship with his patrons and it’s benefitted him and his customers.

“I haven’t had anyone in my cab for months that I didn’t know on a personal level” Lindsay said. “I know everything about them, their name, who their friends are, who their boyfriend or girlfriend is…their like my children. Same goes for adults too.”

On a typical night Lindsay fields around 200 phone calls and text messages asking for rides for wherever they need to go. He answers the calls just like he would if his best friend were calling to see how he was doing.

He says that every night is a steady night for him while a lot of different Yellow Cab drivers sit idle on days waiting for a fare.

Many different people from Morgantown residents to West Virginia University students they all say Lindsay is “the best” driver they’ve had while in Morgantown.

Not only does the fact that he no longer takes call via the dispatch system make his special, but he also “takes care” of his patrons.

“If I take somebody home and they’ve had a little too much to drink, which happens, I’ll take them home, get them inside and leave them a note telling them how they got home,” said Lindsay. “Then they’ll call me the next day, give me their credit card number or whatever.”

Lindsay says he’s tucked people into bed, taken IOU’s and will never leave people waiting outside in the cold or wondering how they’re going to get home that night.

He says that at times there’s too many people for him to pick up in one night, but he’ll make sure another driver gets them and then adds them to his priority list and will get them first the next time around.

Building a relationship with Lindsay can be super helpful for students. The Yellow Cab taxi service has been deemed unreliable by a lot of different people in the Morgantown area. To have at least one reliable cab driver in Morgantown, well it’s better than having none.

Until a second cab company can make it’s way to Morgantown, Yellow Cab has a monopoly and students will continue to have to rely on Yellow Cab’s sketchy service.

But, there’s always Lindsay — the hero cab driver Morgantown deserves.

Is graduating from WVU harder than other public universities?

By Dillon Durst

Graduating from college is an important milestone in a man’s life.

Essentially, it marks the end of our lives as kids as we transition into a new chapter of our lives that features a career and legitimate responsibilities.

However, receiving a degree from West Virginia University is a unique feat.

WVU has often been referred to as “not real life” on more than one occasion by friends from home, former students, or students who don’t go to school here. Of course, this is a reference to WVU’s highly-ranked nightlife and bar scene.

According to a sample of WVU male graduating seniors, leaving the notoriously famed party school with a degree isn’t a stroll in the park.

Senior Matt Barnard said he can think of about five friends from his first semester at WVU in the fall of 2012 that either failed out of school, or left for other reasons.

“I pledged during my first semester here and I can immediately think of three of my pledge brothers who didn’t come back to school after the spring 2013 semester,” Barnard said.

After transferring to WVU from the University of Maryland, Barnard said the nightlife as a whole and how students balance their schoolwork and partying is much different than his time at UM.

“At Maryland, kids would dedicate their entire weekends to studying. That’s it. No going out or anything,” he said. “At WVU, I know kids who go out three or four nights a week and still manage to maintain pretty good GPAs.”

Senior Jordon Hankins believes that you either learn to sink or swim during your freshman year when it comes to balancing partying and schoolwork.

“That first year is crucial to finding out your limits and what sort of works and doesn’t work when it comes to balancing drinking and going to class,” Hankins said.

According to a study conducted by College Factual, 43.8 percent of WVU students failed to graduate within 150 percent of the expected time with most transferring to other schools.

“Out of my close group of friends from freshman year, I think about half transferred somewhere else or just didn’t come back,” said Kevin Kordula, a May 2014 WVU graduate.

“You kind of just learn to balance going out two and three nights a week and going out on the weekend with classwork out of necessity.

“I think the most commonly asked question at WVU is, ‘Are you going out tonight?'”

While WVU is widely known for its partying, the institution boasts several academic accolades. WVU is among the nation’s Top 100 public universities, according to U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges 2015 rankings. WVU is also among the nation’s Top 15 public universities in the number of students who receive Rhodes Scholarships.

So, WVU’s graduating Class of 2015, next time you’re sitting in a job interview, make sure to sell the hell out of your incredible ability to multitask.

The Haunting: You wanted “Moore?” You got it

By Ryan Petrovich

Just like the Harry Potter series and How I Met Your Mother, all good things must come to end. That’s why with a heavy heart I must tell you this is the last part of the haunting of West Virginia University series.

There, there, my friends — I promise we’ll go out with a bang, because our next tale is about the most haunted building yet.

E. Moore Hall

“This is the most actively haunted buildings, hands down,” said our good pal Jason Burns,  a professional storyteller who serves as a tour guide for WVU’s annual ghost tour.

Before E. Moore Hall was what it is today, Woodburn Circle and the buildings surrounding it was the Woodburn Academy — an all-girls school. The lady who ran it, well she was a tough cookie.

“She was a badass,” said Burns.

Elizabeth Moore was the head mistress of the school and while she was the mistress the Civil War was taking place.

Burns says that Morgantown was never thought to be a target for the Confederacy, but evidently in 1963 the Confederacy raided Morgantown due to a local politician gaining power.  The Confederates burned bridges that stood above the Mon. River, and an army of 5,000 soldiers killed hundreds of people in Morgantown.

Moore hid her studnets in the basement during the raid, but played friendly to the Confederate soldiers. Her, the cook of the school and the garden ended up saying they were for the confederacy and shared tea with the soldiers who murdered the innocent.

Her lying saved her life and many different student’s lives that day.

Eventually the all-girls school was sold and molded into what is now WVU. Mrs. Moore stayed on as a consulted with the University until the day she died — but was never “officially” an employee of WVU.

For her services to the all-girl school and WVU, the building was named after her and a portrait of her hangs in the building to this day. While a picture of her hangs in there, there’s more of Mrs. Moore than just a portrait.

Her ghost continues to watch over the building just as she did when she was the mistress.

“When E. Moore Hall was undergoing renovations, the construction workers or whoever took the portrait of her down and put it in storage,” said Burns. “They replaced her with another portrait.”

This didn’t sit too well with the former mistress. Apparently upon the workers return, the new portrait was on the ground and the portrait of Mrs. Moore was back in it’s original spot.

At first the workers assumed this was a prank and decided to make sure each and every door was locked when they were finished with the day.

Despite locking the doors, the same even happened once more.

Moore was considered a “supervisor” of the school. As the head mistress she oversaw everything and anything and some have said that the portrait oversees what’s going on and that’s why her ghost doesn’t want it removed.

“She was like a supervisor to the girls at the school,” Burns said. “You know how there’s a pool in E. Moore Hall? Well, one story claims there was a boy and girl in the pool one night and they saw Mrs. Moore’s ghost.”

Moore was making sure no “funny business” was going on as she continued to look out for her girls.

There you have it, Mrs. Moore’s ghost is nothing scoff at. Boys if you want to do the dirty, take it elsewhere and for the love of God can we leave her portrait alone?

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I thank you, my fellow ghost readers. This series has been fun to write. Let me know if you ever see little Sally dancing the night away, hear the mooing of Woodburn’s cow, try to pet a ghost cat, study with Mr. Stewart or even encounter Mrs. Moore.

But, most importantly if you see a ghost, who you gonna call…?

HAD TO!

The PRT: Is it more painful than personal?

Most college students no matter where they are face the same types of issues. These issues usually range from the heavy burden of work, relationships, and not having much money. West Virginia University students can add one more headache to the mix, the PRT.

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The PRT which stands for Personal Rapid Transit System is anything but that. The PRT which was designed to connect all three campuses of WVU and make travel between them quickly usually ends up making students late for class or running trying to make it in time.

 

 

That what some students face when using the PRT. (By that way that guy in the video is yours truly.)

The PRT was finished in 1975 and was designed by Boeing. The PRT has 71 cars and has carried roughly 83 million people since it first started. That is a lot of people but what we don’t hear about is how often it is out of service.

The PRT runs off of a computer based, electric railway system. When this was first developed it was considered advanced technology but over the years spare parts to fix the PRT have become scarce and can be expensive to custom order. In an attempt to fix the PRT there were efforts to adjust the system in 2012.

Some students still rely on the PRT exclusively for transportation but other do not. I took a couple rides around on the bus to ask people why they choose not to use the PRT.

“The PRT breaks down often and ends up making me late for class. The bus is almost always on time and if it is late it is usually only by a few minutes,” said WVU sophomore Kaitlin Fritts.

“If I don’t take the bus I drive or walk to class. I got stuck in the PRT once for almost an hour. It was hot, sticky, and crammed. I missed my class and felt uncomfortable,” Jacob Zaffuto, a WVU senior told me.

Many other share similar “PRT horror stories”, most range from the PRT not showing up to being stuck on a crowded car for long periods of time.

There is also a Twitter page called, “Is the PRT working?” while it only has 3 total tweets, all three of them are no.

Another Twitter page just called PRT also send out tweets about things happening around the school as well as if it is working or not.

Hopefully one day WVU students will have a PRT that is truly 99 percent reliable, which is what they claim. Until then, I would suggest keep a bottle of pain medicine in your backpack to deal with the headaches and a pair of running shoes in case the PRT decides to make you one of its next victims.