Fairfield University says annual springtime Clam Jam is changing locations

The town says the university is paying to have extra first responders on site and will also cover cleanup costs as well.

Angelica Toruno and Nicole Alarcon Soares

Apr 23, 2024, 8:48 PM

Updated 25 days ago


The day-long Clam Jam party in Fairfield has been celebrated on Penfield Beach in recent years - and drawing thousands of students.
This year, the very popular event will take place at Jennings Beach, while the pavilion at Penfield is under construction.
"It's just a venue change. The Jennings complex is a little bit further from the beach and reef area," said David Becker, the town's deputy emergency management director.
Fairfield town officials says the university is paying to have extra first responders on site and will also cover cleanup costs as well.
Fairfield residents told News 12 this is a better move; they say there's more space and more parking on Jennings Beach.
But some residents expressed concerned about crowds spilling into residential neighborhoods.
Town officials said they're working together with Fairfield University to make sure that doesn't happen.
"There's going to be fencing in place. The students are assigned wristbands, they're assigned cups. Campus security is going to be on staff as well," said Becker.
In contrast to student organized events, like SantaCon and Sham Jam, Clam Jam is sponsored by Fairfield University.
"A lot of people have remembered the years past with some issues, this will be much more of a university-controlled area," said Becker.
Fairfield University vice president of marketing and communications Jennifer Anderson provided the following statement to News 12 Connecticut:
Since 2017, Clam Jam has been an officially sponsored Fairfield University event, operated by the institution. The University follows the appropriate Town of Fairfield processes and protocols for hosting official University events like Clam Jam. While Clam Jam has typically been held at Penfield Beach, due to the construction this year, approval for the event to shift to Jennings Beach was granted by the Town of Fairfield—as it has been approved for the past 8 years, given the minimal impact of the event to the Town and local area.
For decades, Fairfield University has engaged with beach residents, select-persons, police, fire and the health department, to develop collective action plans to minimize the impact of large events. The collaborative planning for Clam Jam has continued this year, and the University has developed an extensive operational planning document that has been shared with the Town and its departments.
The University takes the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and community very seriously, and acknowledges the varying interests and concerns of student-residents, full-time residents and landlords. Clam Jam is a University tradition that dates back to the 1980’s and is an annual event our students look forward to attending each year, and our efforts in fostering a safe community continues to be a priority of Fairfield University.

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