Since it first launched in 2007, the annual party hosted by Lauinger Library during the fall semester, “Club Lau,” is cancelled, due to a lack of sufficient funds to pay library staff and Georgetown University Police Department officers and provide amenities for the event.
Katherine Thomas, Lauinger’s communications and marketing coordinator, said that the decision to cancel the event was made over the summer, after realizing that the necessary funds to staff the event exceeded the current budget for the library.
“Club Lau is a complex event requiring funding for library staffing and a robust GUPD presence to assist with crowd control, as well as movers, lighting, refreshments and music,” Thomas wrote in an email to The Hoya.
In addition to the costs of resources for the event, in April, GUPD increased security costs for on-campus events with high expected attendance, making the cost of having officers more expensive. GUPD’s typical rate for event security is $52.25 per hour per officer.
Though the event is cancelled for this fall, the university plans to host a similar event in subsequent years, according to Thomas.
“We are hopeful that the library will be able to support a revised version of this event next fall,” Thomas said.
Club Lau has taken place annually in early September since 2007 and it attracts an average of 1,500 to 2,000 students each year, Thomas said.
Several students and the Georgetown University Student Association are disappointed with the library’s decision to cancel the event.
GUSA Historian Henry Westerman (SFS ’21) said GUSA is working to keep Club Lau open to students this fall.
Julia Harris (COL ’20) said Club Lau was one of her favorite memories at Georgetown, and she appreciated its inclusive atmosphere.
“For me it was one of the few chances as a new Georgetown student to go out and have fun at an event that was open to everyone,” Harris wrote in an email to The Hoya. “It makes me sad that new students won’t have the opportunity to experience it because I made some of my closest friends on the dance floor at Club Lau.”
Jack Korologos (COL ’21) compared Club Lau to Georgetown’s New Student Orientation, saying it assists in new students’ transition to Georgetown.
“Club Lau itself isn’t the most fun someone will have at Georgetown by any means. That’s not what it was for,” Korologos said. “Freshman year is a big change and Club Lau helped ease that process in its own special way. All in all, Club Lau was the best welcome that Georgetown offered to the incoming freshmen.”
Although library staff planned and hosted Club Lau, student organizations such as Georgetown Weeks of Welcome, an outreach and programming group that facilitates students’ transition to campus during the first six weeks of the school year, contributed to publicity efforts in the past.
GWOW Co-Coordinator Casey Wetherbee (SFS ’21) said this year Lauinger Library asked GWOW to publicize an escape room event hosted by the library, called “Escape the Hilltop Conspiracy,” which will include puzzles, riddles and clues for players to try to exit a room.
“Historically, we have reached out to Lauinger Library, and they have sent us their events (which, until this year, have included Club Lau),” Wetherbee wrote in an email to The Hoya. “This year, they reached out to us so that we could promote an Escape Room that they will be running on September 14 and October 12. However, there was no mention of Club Lau.”
The escape rooms for the “Escape the Hilltop Conspiracy” are in their initial phases, but library staff members may add more dates if initial trials go well. Developed by students, faculty and librarians, the escape rooms seek to provide an engaging mystery that incorporates research and problem-solving skills for participants.
Thomas said that though Club Lau is not set to occur this fall, Lauinger still intends to host other events for the community.
“The library is reviewing its events and programming with campus partners and will work throughout the academic year to continue to engage with Hoyas in other meaningful ways,” Thomas wrote.