After its first semester of business, the Anderson Student Center’s bowling facility has made a name for itself not only among St. Thomas students, but community members as well.
Freshman Bailey Schirmers takes a look down the lane before releasing the bowling ball. Cosmic bowling and a bowling league contributed to the success of the Anderson Student Center's bowling alley this semester. (Baihly Warfield/TommieMedia)
Director of ASC Recreation and Bowling Nathan Tysk said the bowling alley has seen no shortage of business this semester.
“Bowling has been fairly active. We’ve had a lot of student use, staff use and faculty use, which is encouraging because that’s what we were looking for,” Tysk said.
Vanessa Ryan, the student center’s director, agreed that business has been steady and expectations were surpassed this spring.
“We’ve actually exceeded revenue goals that were set,” Ryan said.
According to Tysk, the alley’s business has not solely come from St. Thomas students, faculty and staff.
“We’ve had a lot of community use as well, which is something that we hoped for,” Tysk said.
Tysk said the new bowling facility also spawned a bowling league.
“We just finished up with our first league,” Tysk said. “It was really great for our first league. We had like 40 individuals participate in it and that was a mix of faculty, staff and students.”
Sophomore bowling employee Sam Perry said the bowling league helped to increase participation in the alley.
“That was nice because there was always someone down here,” Perry said. “We saw a lot more traffic.”
Tysk said the league worked nicely because it allowed students and professors to interact in a different environment other than a classroom setting.
“I think it was a really great experience because it’s really neat to bring that community building outside the classroom,” Tysk said. “I feel like sometimes students don’t see their professors apart from being professors so it’s really cool to build those bridges.”
Another draw that the alley offers students is cosmic bowling on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 p.m. to midnight and Mondays from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
“They really like the moonlight bowling, so I’ve actually heard that they want more of that,” Tysk said. “I can definitely see that there’s a big draw for that because, even on the outside, reservations like for birthday parties, when they’ve figured out that it’s moonlight bowling, they ask ‘Oh, can we switch it over?’”
However, the success doesn’t mean Ryan and Tysk have stopped looking to improve the space in the future.
“I think the big thing for us is reacting to students’ concerns and requests about the pricing structure,” Ryan said. “Nathan is researching other universities’ pricing. We did that prior to opening, but re-looking at that and seeing if there’s something that we can change. So that will be piloted in the summer.”
For students, prices range from $15 to $18 per hour for one lane, depending on the time and day. Perry said she believes that pricing is the biggest drawback for students.
“I think it’s definitely because of the price. That’s what I’ve been hearing when people are down here,” Perry said. “I would like to see more people take advantage of it because it’s a really cool area.”
Freshman Byron Synstegaard said he enjoys going bowling in the student center and it provides for good on-campus entertainment.
“It is right on campus, it has very nice lanes, and is something fun to do with your friends for a night out,” Synstegaard said.
Ryan said overall, the bowling alley’s success this semester didn’t surprise her.
“It was probably the most anticipated thing in the building to open just because it’s fun and it’s different,” she said.
Baihly Warfield can be reached at email@example.com.