Lawn party is GK centerpiece

by Lauren Gee | 5/18/01 5:00am

The Alpha Delta fraternity lawn party, famous for the enthusiastically social, refreshingly laid-back, and ever-inebriated atmosphere it traditionally promises, holds strong as the highlight of Green Key Weekend.

For over a decade, the annual party has been a much anticipated and greatly enjoyed component of the College's weekend of spring festivities for some.

Since about 1976, according to AD adviser John Engelman, the party has offered occasion for social interaction as well as musical entertainment. It has showcased a variety of bands, including Anthrax in 1982, Blues Traveler in 1988 and Rustic Overtones and Downtime in recent years.

Nevertheless, the main focus is not the live music, but rather the gathering of people and the sharing of Dartmouth tradition. According to current AD president James Colligan '02, the purpose of the party is "to have a ball with your friends on a nice sunny day."

AD social chair John Villapiano '02 said he remembered, "hearing about the party from other students before [he] went here. They said it was one of the highlights of the year."

Having experienced the party for the past two years, he added, "It's a campus unifying event " definitely the most fun one. I don't think there are many other events that get such attendance."

Although ideal weather is always desired, the event has proven to be equally vibrant, rain or shine. Last year, despite inclement conditions, the party turned into a musical freestyle event in addition to a spectator's gathering.

The lawn party has, in fact, been witness to a number of interesting occurrences. At one time, the day involved the use of a three-story beer funnel.

In 1999, the band experienced several catastrophes. A football that hit the drummer and a female student fell from the railing onto the keyboard and knocked off several keys.

Last year, a '99 member of Chi Heorot fraternity arrived at the party dressed only in toilet paper which a fellow party attendee proceeded to light on fire. Additionally, an unofficial mud-wrestling competition began when one party-goer ran down the hill of the AD lawn and slid into the mud created by a day of rainfall.

Despite the many uncanny goings-on that punctuate the traditional Green Key celebration, the event is not known to have ever been broken up by either Safety and Security or the Hanover Police. Colligan attributes this to attention given to careful planning, including communication about the gathering with both the College and town, and respect of proper zoning ordinances, in addition to regulation during the actual party.

Campus-wide there seems to be a consensus that the AD lawn party is the core of Green Key weekend. It summons not only current Dartmouth students but a large number of alumni who return to party.

Former AD Vice President Trey Laird '93 recounted the previous year's party, telling The Dartmouth in previous interview, "It was a beautiful day. All the alums were up and everybody was smashed."

Morgan Cain '02, a current member of AD and lawn party veteran, agreed.

"I think the AD lawn party is great because you see everyone on this campus that you want to see in one place," he said.

Current AD brother Jeremy Lepage '02 captured the essence of the event: "What you can you really say about the lawn party at AD? It's one of the greatest times of the year to get outside with a huge group of people that you may not usually see and hang out with good music."

Lepage added that the lawn party has rapidly become synonymous with Green Key weekend.

"There seems to be a couple traditions that go hand-in-hand with Dartmouth's festival weekends. This is one of those traditions that are strictly about having a good time and hopefully we can keep it around for a long time. It'd be a shame if future classes didn't have the opportunity to dance and sing on the AD lawn," Lepage said.