Hung inconspicuously on the wall leading to the bathroom, it's easy to miss the series of plaques honoring the members of the Quarter Club amongst the rust-colored lamps and chaotic din that defines the Anthill Pub on the UC Irvine campus. But often, someone will stand there, blocking the path to the restrooms, with a quiet smile on their face, their fingers tracing the outline of a name, whether theirs, a friend's or a stranger's. They'll contemplate the person's accomplishment, debating whether they could achieve it. They might attempt, and though they may persevere like many others before them, they will most likely fail.
To become a member of the the Quarter Club, which has been going on since the fall of 2008, is no small feat; though hundreds of people have accomplished it, many more hundreds have failed.
The test? One pint each day the pub is open for an academic quarter, whether rain or shine, cold or flu, midterm or lab report being due. That is roughly 48 pints of beer, 60 ounces of pure alcohol or over ten thousand calories. Even if you drink only during happy hour, that is still a total of two hundred dollars. There are no excused absences, just makes ups: you may skip up to five days, but you must make them up during finals week.
The spoils of victory? Your own personalised mug, being on first-name basis from the bartenders, your name on the wall and a party where the going price for beer is a quarter per pint.
Why would anyone try it?
"To be honest, it's the only place on campus where you can really earn a spot on the wall forever," club member Elizabeth Lopez admits, "I was a senior about to graduate, and I didn't want to leave UCI without making my mark somewhere."
Others still do it for the challenge and camaraderie.
"I did the Quarter Club mostly to see if I could actually pull it off," says UCI alum Kerwin Perez. "Having friends do it with you makes it a lot easier and more fun but, in the end, I viewed it as a dare. It definitely brought me a lot closer to my friends, though. We motivated each other and seeing each other daily allowed me to get to know them a lot better, especially since we were buzzed half the time."
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If you're interested, sign-ups start again April 2 and are open to anyone--no university affiliation needed. You have to be there the first day. Oh, try to be there the next ten weeks too.