Two students wandering through the Eaton lobby at 1 a.m. stop to read a message scrawled on a dry-erase board. The message, promoting a petition that has already gained nearly 90 signatures, is signed simply “Beezer.”
Further down the lobby hangs a poster recognizing the Eaton Sportsfest teams. Among these teams are two with the Beezer label.
It has even become an Eaton hall theme. An uninformed visitor walking by door after door of Beezer placards is forced to question: “What is this Beezer?”
“Beezer is a movement,” said Brian Lemmerman, a fifth-year architecture student and the spiky-haired president of a group gaining rapid campus recognition. “It is an organization dedicated to the health, welfare, and entertainment of Eaton residents.”
The main offices of this unofficial organization are located in Eaton rooms 239 and 240, which also serve as the living quarters for its executive board. Besides Lemmerman, whose lifelong nickname provides the group’s title, the board consists of senior Michael DeSanti and sophomores Logan Gion and Stephen Manley.
“They make interesting neighbors,” said Laura Robertson, a sophomore living across the hall from Beezer. “Their door is always open. There is always something going on.”
Although Beezer has succeeded in providing a rallying point for Eaton students, it did not begin with any clear-cut intentions. According to members, it all started while watching VH1′s “I Want to Work for Diddy.”
DeSanti recalled saying, “Screw Diddy! I want to work for Beezer!” And from there the suitemates began scheming.
“We’ve had a few people make appointments with Beezer,” said Gion, whose desk, situated in the center of room 239, boasts a handwritten sign reading “Secretary Logan.” “We did movie rentals for awhile, but that was short-lived.”
Such “mock ventures” as movie rentals, a choreography branch, and $5 haircuts are part of a larger concept of entrepreneurship.
DeSanti, an entrepreneurship and music business major, strongly believes in creative enterprise.
“The poor economy is not an excuse. You have to find something to take a risk on,” he said.
Yet Beezer has larger goals: the organization is also undertaking serious Eaton and campuswide initiatives that are currently being put into effect.
As president of Emerging Green Builders at UM, Lemmerman is deeply interested in promoting and enacting programs of sustainability.
The aforementioned petition, located in the Eaton lobby, pertains to the FRESH Act, a Beezer proposal “facilitating the restoration of environmentally sustainable housing.”
“Soon, FRESH Act will be in every dorm,” Lemmerman said.
Goals of the FRESH Act include the opening of emergency exit doors and dorm room windows in Eaton.
According to Lemmerman, opening the permanently closed windows and fire-exits will save money on central air-conditioning and provide a healthier environment for students.
“Beezer just gets things done,” said Sarah Siegel, a sophomore and resident of Eaton. “They are here to make people happy. They want to make Eaton feel like a family.”
Siegel cited Sportsfest as one area in which Beezer had an impact.
“It’s not as big here as it is in Hecht and Stanford,” said Siegel, who participated on the team Ladies of Beezer. “Beezer stepped it up and won an award for most spirited.”
Another project founded by Beezer and recently passed by COSO is the Comm”U”nity Garden.
Lemmerman says the university is providing 1,600 square feet for the student-run garden. With the garden, students will be able to buy a $5 plot of land and grow their own food.
The garden is an example of the group’s belief that Beezer has “grown beyond the power of one person.”
“Beezer represents how it is possible to change university policy if you just take the time and initiative,” DeSanti said.
He and Lemmerman will be graduating at the end of the semester, but have faith that members like Gion and Manley will keep Beezer alive.
“Beezer is a brand name,” DeSanti said. “It is something people stand behind. They know they can trust it because of what we have accomplished so far.”
“We are like the mafia of Eaton,” Lemmerman laughed. “Students come to us if there is something they need that the RAs cannot provide.”