‘Sco to Open Earlier, Offer More Diverse Events


Photo by Devin Cowan

A student prepares for a performance at the ’Sco, which will undergo changes as staff members work to draw more students to the space.

The ’Sco, Oberlin College’s campus bar and music venue in the basement of Wilder Hall, will open earlier and offer a wider range of events based on student feedback. Staff members of the club hope the changes will make it more accessible, with a larger role in student life.

The ’Sco will open earlier on days when no touring act or other programming is scheduled. It was open from 8 p.m.–11 p.m. instead of its usual hours of 10 p.m.–1 a.m. on Saturday, and Assistant Director of Student Activities Sean Lehlbach, who oversees the ’Sco and its staff, said that despite a lack of advertising, there was a promising turnout.

“We had 51 on Saturday, which — versus a normal DJ night — is more than we will sometimes get,” Lehlbach said.

College senior and Student Manager Martin Rabot said that turnout is notoriously low on days without a touring act or themed program.

“If we have a student DJ in here, only the 20 kids that the DJ invited are going to come, and they’re only going to stay for an hour until there’s a party they find out about,” Rabot said.

The issue, Rabot added, is that the ’Sco cannot compete with house parties happening elsewhere on campus. He said that the earlier hours would hopefully eliminate some of that competitive overlap.

’Sco staff also hope to attract a wider range of students in the coming months by varying and expanding the types of events in the space.

“I think our main goal in moving the ’Sco especially earlier this year is to make it so a lot of people can come, even if they don’t want to stay up really late, or if they don’t feel comfortable being in a dark space late at night, or if they’re not comfortable around people who are drinking a lot,” staff member and College junior Emma Broun said.

Rabot said that one of his goals is to show students that the ’Sco hosts more events than just Splitchers, the club’s popular Wednesday night event.

Recently the ’Sco hosted a murder-mystery event, which Lehlbach said is an example of the new and somewhat unexpected programming he hopes to see implemented.

“They got a little bit of a ground swell and are thinking about doing it again,” he said about the event. “That was something off the wall — something different — and the students liked it.”

Game nights, craft nights, trivia nights, and karaoke nights are all in the works, as well as a weekly or bi-weekly ’Sco Family Feud.

“I’m not opposed to trying these types of things,” Lehlbach added. “I think the students will dictate how the space is used best.”

Students expressed excitement in the ’Sco’s plans. College senior Deborah Johnson said she has enjoyed going to Splitchers and other events at the venue earlier in the night than she might have in the past to beat the crowds and spend more time with her friends. She added that she’s optimistic that the new events will help the ’Sco attract more students.

“I really like the ’Sco, and [it] has had a place in my heart since freshman year,” Johnson said. “I think these new hours might give older students an opportunity to return to the ’Sco. I really am excited about it. I think a new take on anything is always fun.”

According to Broun, the ’Sco has a reputation of attracting certain groups of people.

“There’s a lot of stigma around people who are consuming a lot of alcohol and people who are in packs, and I don’t want to say ‘big groups of male athletes,’ but I think that’s what would come to mind for some people,” Broun said.

In addition to house parties, Rabot acknowledged that the ’Sco also competes with The Feve and other restaurants and bars downtown.

“I think we’re now in a period where we need to reinvent and refocus a little bit,” Rabot said. “That is something that I want student feedback on.”

He said that he and Lehlbach want to see the ’Sco live up to its full potential, and the best way to do that is by listening to comments and suggestions made by students.

“If we get people that are fired up about doing something there, we can feed that and fuel that, and then they put on a cool program” Lehlbach said.

Students can voice their wishes and ideas by messaging the ’Sco on Facebook and Instagram or chatting with ’Sco staff members in person.