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A step in the right direction

OBSERVER EDITORIAL BOARD | Friday, August 29, 2003

Students love to criticize the administration for a student life environment that is about as exciting as snail races.

But when Legends of Notre Dame opens Saturday, the administration deserves plenty of praise for working to create a popular on-campus nightspot for students.

One of the chief complaints students traditionally have about on-campus life is that there is relatively little to do after hours. LaFortune and Reckers are open late and are great for casually spending time with friends, but movies at DeBartolo aren’t exactly considered a wild nighttime activity. And when the administration unveiled a stricter alcohol policy two springs ago, students migrated to off-campus parties as they criticized what they called a disappearing campus social life.

Legends might change that perception. The building, formerly known as the Alumni-Senior Bar, underwent a $2.7 million renovation. Workers added a restaurant, a pub and a dance floor. Student government leaders have promised special nighttime activities, comedians and DJs. And with underage and legal Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students alike permitted in the establishment at night, Legends could quickly become a popular destination for on-campus students.

There are obvious drawbacks. If Legends becomes a popular late-night hangout for students, it might not be able to accommodate the interest (the building only holds 800 people). And South Bend cab companies might want to make the establishment a flag drop because it is located so far from most dorms.

For now, however, Legends is the first step in a master administrative plan to improve campus life. Other plans for the future include a strip of small restaurants south of campus, but no date has been set for the start of that project. And after being criticized for drastically altering the on-campus drinking policy without providing a viable alternative, the administration should be commended for trying to keep students on campus.

Legends is a step in the right direction, and it’s a step that desperately needed to be taken for students seeking a vibrant on-campus social life.