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The Dartmouth
May 26, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Goats and velcro mark spring weekends at other schools

Whether throwing themselves against a velcro wall, roasting a goast on a spit or slaying dragons, college students all over the country are celebrating spring and taking advantage of the good weather.

Dartmouth students may think they have the monopoly on spring party weekends, but colleges around the country also feel the need to celebrate the birth of spring in a variety of different ways.

Bands and booze

Music and alcohol are common elements at college spring weekends around the country.

Princeton University enjoyed the music of George Clinton this year as well some more traditional parties hosted by unrecognized fraternites.

The weekend's most celebrated event is Newman's Day, when students attempt to drink 24 beers in 24 hours.

Although roughly 200 students participated in Newman's Day, junior Rick Klein said some people "probably passed out before 24 beers."

At Cornell University, students also celebrate the arrival of spring with alcohol, senior Seth Stern said.

One of the most revered party traditions is Slope Day, when "all the undergraduates gather on this hill and drink to excess," Stern said.

Students at Cornell are also looking forward to Dragon Day, when students studying architecture "build an enourmous dragon and engineering students throw things at it," trying to break it, he said.

Not all colleges center their spring celebrations around alcohol, however. Students at Salve Regina University welcomed the spring without the help of alcoholic beverages, said Doug Pregman, the head of Spring Weekend.

Festivities at the dry campus included karaoke and a drive-in movie on the front lawn of the student center, Pregman said. Students celebrated at night with casino games and mocktails -- non-alcoholic cocktails.

Pregman said Salve Regina's alcohol policy discourages many upperclass students from attending events, probably because these students grow tired of the same programming.

"We see a lot more freshmen coming to these events and we're beginning to aim more things at the freshmen and sophomores," he said.

Instead of destroying dragons, students at Harvard University roast goats to honor the arrival of spring.

Every Spring term, Harvard's Dunster House brews beer and cooks a goat on a spit to "celebrate the good weather and the approach of summer," sophomore Brendan Gibbon said.

On the same weekend as the goat roast, actor John Lithgow hosted a week-long celebration of the arts.

Gibbon said last year's arts celebration included a Shakespeare play in Harvard Square, as well as performances by several a capella groups.

This year, God Street Wine headlined a concert at Harvard's spring weekend, and there was also a university-sponsored carnival, which included a moonwalk, he said.

Earth-conscious parties

Students at Columbia University spent an entire week welcoming spring to their campus. Columbia Fest is seven days worth of parties, speeches and university-organized activities, said Mike Pignatello, a representative of the Union of Student Organizations.

"Class wars" -- a series of friendly competitions between Columbia's classes -- is always one of the weekend's highlights, he said. Students competed in ultimate frisbee, capture the flag and a tug-of-war this year.

Columbia's Greek organizations rang in the season with traditional theme parties, Pignatello said.

Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity treated students to a night of drinks and music at their Pi-Ki-Ki party.

Columbia has also organized a "night of debauchery" for students, Pignatello said. The Fiji Island party featured "hot jazz and cold champagne," he said.

Earth Week, which occurred in April, coincided with spring weekends at several schools. To recognize this correspondence, Columbia Fest included activities to remind students not to neglect the environment in the midst of their merriment, he said.

Students at Yale University faced some controversy when it came time to deal with incorporating Earth Week into their usual Spring Fling activites.

College Council President Tyson Belanger said no beef was served at the weekend's barbecue "because it requires more resources to produce a pound of beef than a pound of wheat."

Yale students were generally apalled by the ban.

"It's absolutely ridiculous," Yale junior Yen Cheong said. "You can't have a barbecue with tofu."

The ban "seems a really petty point," Yale freshman Ray Horng said. "Various organizations are purposely going to serve beef or pork."

Belanger said he was baffled by the student body's outrage.

"Last year, we didn't serve beef and no one even noticed," he said.

Yale also organized dunk booths, a moonwalk, an obstacle course and a slide as part of their spring-like activities.

Horng said he was looking forward to The Golden Calf festival -- held by Yale Branford Residential College -- which will include a kissing booth.

Greek organizations at Yale also helped celebrate the arrival of spring. Ten of Yale's fraternities united to organize a one-night "Heaven and Hell" party at Sigma Nu fraternity's house, Cheong said.

Students at the University of Vermont also planned activities to help save the planet with their Habitat for Humanity concert, Campus Center Manager Annelise Selzer said.

Other celebrations included at UVM's Funk Fest included a day of concerts and free Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow

The University of Pennsylvania's Spring Fling offered a wide array of activities and parties for Penn students and more than 1,000 guests, even as poor weather put a damper on the weekend.

This year's Spring Fling was Penn's 25th spring celebration, and its theme was the "mother of all flings," said Melissa Muniz, president of the Social Planning and Events Committee. Penn's chapter of Pi Lamda Phi fraternity celebrated spring with its traditional "Human Barbecue" party, junior Mike Madden said.

The "Human Barbecue" party included a full day of concerts and drinking, which was well attended not only by students, but Philidelphia residents as well, Madden said.

Madden said the weather affected some of the programming, as the University's Penn Rocks for the Homeless concert had to be cancelled and the University's fraternities shut their doors at 2 a.m. because of the stormy weather.

Other activities at Penn included a concert featuring A Tribe Called Quest, The Toasters and Fun Loving Criminals, Muniz said .

The weather for spring weekend may now seem trivial to students at Brown University, where one student was killed and another student was seriously injured when they fell out of a third story window.

The students, seniors Timory Hyde and Elliot Winard, were leaning against a window on Saturday April 19 when the single pane of glass behind them broke and they fell to the driveway, according to an article in the Brown Daily Herald.

Co-Chair of the Special Events Committee Michael Szczepanski said few Brown students knew about the accident until after the weekend's conclusion, and the weekend's festivities continued as planned.

Students at Brown enjoyed the musical talents of Bob Dylan -- one drunk student even ran up on stage to hug the rock star -- the Toasters and Bo Diddley.

Plans for a hot air ballon were cancelled due to the poor weather conditions, Szczepanski said.

Those students who were brave enough to tackle the lousy weather could have taken advantage of the hot tub on Phi Kappa Psi fraternity's front porch.

Each spring weekend, the fraternity rents a hot tub for the enjoyment of its brothers and their guests.

Connecticut College also has had its share of problems on party weekends.

Dean of Students Catherine Wood-Brooks said there have been alcohol-related issues in past years.

One student had to be hospitalized three years ago after imbibing excessively, she said. In another incident three years ago, a student was struck on the head by a brick as he walked back to his dorm.

This year, Connecticut College's spring weekend included a street fair, featuring vendors and art displays, according to Acting Director of Student Activities William Intner.

Floralia XX -- this year's college-organized festival -- featured a number of bands, caricature and airbrush artists and a moonwalk, Intner said, and roving magicians and comedians wandered the campus for entertainment.

Students also had the opportunity to participate in the Velcro Olympics, Intner said.

Participants in these events had to negotiate a velcro-covered obstacle course in velcro suits, Intner said.

Playing hard

Students evidently enjoy a wide variety of outlandish physical activities which accompany their drinking.

Connecticut College students were not the only ones who had the opportunity to become intimately acquainted with velcro.

Williams College welcomed spring to its campus with students throwing themselves against a velcro wall, boxing with inflatable gloves, sumo wrestling in inflatibile suits and attending a Luscious Jackson concert, according to Isaac Pesin, a member of the student activities committee.

Duke University's Spring Fest in early April featured a moonwalk and sumo wrestling with inflatible suits, as students "dressed up and bounced off the person they're supposed to wrestle with," said Emmy Andrews, president of Duke's student union.

Those students who felt up to the challenge could also participate in a bungee cord relay race. Each student had to collect objects, attach them to bungee cords, and snap them back to their teammates, Andrews said.