While the new Rathskeller still incorporates many elements of the old, one feature is glaringly missing – the stage.
“The stage is definitely what I will miss most about the old Rat,” said Ashley Drake, president of the Panhellenic Association and a server at the Rat.
The raised stage at the former Rat was a popular venue for Greek philanthropic events.
“At [Greek] pageants, people put on funny performances, and the atmosphere of the old Rat was cozy so people felt comfortable,” said Madison Godesky, a junior in the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. “Food and beer always make things more intimate.”
However, the Rat’s current location does not easily allow for such staged events.
“The construction of the new Student Activities Center has raised a challenge, but we aren’t worried because there are other spaces on campus,” Drake said. “It is likely that we will use the UC patio or the Rock for events.”
However, the temporary alternatives have setbacks. Rain often constrains the use of outdoor spaces and these areas often get filled quickly.
The simulated tour of the future Student Activities Center shows no stage in the new Rathskeller’s design. However, the multipurpose room on the building’s top floor will hold seating for 800 and have a panoramic view of the lake.
Some employees are pleased that the Rat no longer has a stage. Dominic Castillejo, a UM graduate who continues to work at the Rat, said that the loud commotion at Greek events used to give him a headache at work.
“From an employee standpoint, I think the change will be for the better,” Castillejo said. “The Greeks will still come to the Rat, pay their bills and then head over to whatever event they have. If held at the UC patio, it will be so close and won’t make much of a difference.”
He agrees that people in the Greek community will eat and drink at the Rat before the events while the construction and renovation takes place.
“It’s definitely a challenge thinking of new venues for some of the events, like O-Cheer and Greek God and Goddess, but it also gives us a great chance to branch out and see what else campus has to offer,” said Melissa Guller, co-chair of the Greek Week planning committee. “We’re hoping to make this year’s Greek Week the best yet, and hopefully some of the new locations we use will make the events even better.”