Kansas University students who want to have fun without drinking don't have to look too far. Lawrence is full of opportunities.
"Restaurants, going out to dinner with friends, going to shows you don't necessarily have to drink at those, and those are pretty good," said Joe Gillespie, a fifth-year senior in biochemistry. "And of course, there are the coffee shops."
One such place is the Java Break, a 24-hour coffee shop at 17 E. Seventh St.
"There's a good steady crowd that comes in to relax," said Trevor Ablott, a barista at the coffee shop.
"We get a lot of underage people who make this a hangout, someplace that's downtown and that's not a dorm room."
Even people who do drink end up at the shop, Ablott said.
"A lot of dates end up here," he said, "because we're the only place that's open after 2 (a.m.)."
But Java Break isn't the only off-campus option for nonalcoholic entertainment.
A few clubs in town consistently allow students under age 21 to take in live music shows. They include The Bottleneck, 737 N.H., and The Granada, 1020 Mass. Liberty Hall, 642 Mass., also often opens its doors (and its art-house movies) to all ages.
Chris Eckert, a fifth-year senior, is a Bottleneck regular. That's just one of his alcohol-free activities.
"I go to concerts, I go record shopping, I buy books," he said. "For the size of town it is, there's lots of things going on. You don't have to go to bars."
Options aren't too shabby back on campus, either. The Kansas Union, the Lied Center, Student Union Activities and the "Hawk Night" program are among the offerings, and the Lied Center uses student input to determine some of its cultural offerings of concerts, plays and dance performances.
"There's definitely a lot of opportunities and options on campus," said Leslie Husted, Student Union Activities adviser. "There is a population out there looking for entertainment that doesn't involve alcohol. We're trying to serve them as best we can."
David Johnston, marketing coordinator for the union, agreed.
"We're not looking to compete with the bars, per se, but we recognize that student lives don't operate just during the day," he said. "They go all hours, and we want to meet the needs."
The union offers concerts, lectures, gallery shows, movies and festivals, Johnston said. It also plays host to an annual international film series and a weekly "brown-bag" concert.
"These are collaborative efforts to bring unique cultural opportunities to students, and they've been well-received," Johnston said. "Everything we do, we keep in mind a student's budget and we try to keep them free or low-cost."
The Hawk Night program is offered once a month on campus, sponsored with a grant from the city's special alcohol fund.
Aaron Quisenberry, associate director of the Student Organizations and Leadership Development Center at KU, said the late-night programs draw about 400 students who partake in athletics, games, movies and even a midnight breakfast.
"All the students are liking it," he said. "I think it's only going to get bigger."
It helps, Quisenberry said, that the program gives away items like bicycles, tickets to sporting events and vacations at its events.
"Students love free stuff," he said.
Ramona DeNies, who graduated from KU in May with English and Latin American studies degrees, said students don't have to rely on businesses or organizations to provide entertainment. She said she goes to parties to spin records as a DJ or stays in with friends to throw dinner parties.
"We're all good cooks," she said. "We put a lot of emphasis on food."