AD lawn party remains Green Key weekend highlight

by Tracy Landers | 5/17/02 5:00am

Tomorrow afternoon, Alpha Delta fraternity will continue its decades-old tradition of outdoor alcohol and live music despite increased pressure from the College to control underage and dangerous drinking.

The atmosphere of wild abandon that has characterized the AD lawn party in past years will most likely be toned down as Safety and Security officers and six sober monitors scan the crowd for incidents of students without wrist bands drinking alcohol not provided by the AD basement.

Weeks ago AD went through a grueling process of acquiring an exception from the Office of Residential Life, Safety and Security and Dean of the College James Larimore to allow outdoor alcohol consumption for students over the age of 21.

While fraternity members would likely have been even more dissatisfied with an outright ban on all outdoor drinking, AD officers expressed frustration and disappointment with the College's strict new policies.

Unlike past years, students who bring their own alcohol to the lawn party -- classically disguised in opaque Nalgene bottles -- face not only an Safety and Security write-up, but also the wrath of AD brothers who are eager to avoid a backlash of alcohol policy violations.

AD social chair Scott Rutherford '03 expressed doubt about the ability of his house to control the drinking habits of the hundreds of students from all classes that come to the lawn party.

"We're going to put forth our best effort, but the idea that no one will bring their own alcohol doesn't seem feasible. The school tends to hold us responsible anyway, which puts us in an extremely hard position," Rutherford said.

Rutherford described a situation at last year's lawn party, in which AD got written up due to a group of Heorot alumni who taped a student to a chair near the AD house.

"We can give our best to maintain policies, but then some drunkard we've never even met" gets us in trouble, Rutherford added. He also said some students were stupid enough to come to their party "pounding a handle of Jack Daniels or wearing an '05 shirt and drinking on the lawn."

Aside from students' bad behavior, Rutherford criticized the new alcohol policy, calling it "dysfunctional." Nevertheless, he said his house stayed strictly within the policy guidelines as it planned the lawn party.

In keeping with the traditional association of Green Key weekend and live music, the New Jersey funk band Brown will play several sets from 2 to 6 p.m. in front of the fraternity. The band website described Brown as "Leaders of the New Underground Funk Revolution," who fight against the "televisonary mind suckers" and the "people of pop."

Following in a long line of guest bands, Brown is the successor to groups such as the hair metal band Anthrax, which was hosted by AD in 1982, and Blues Traveler, which came in 1988.

Though the origins of the perennially popular AD lawn party are apparently lost in the mists of time -- current AD officers could give no clue as to the year the first party was held -- it goes back at least as far as the 1960's. Chris Miller '63 has vivid memories of Green Key parties from his years as an AD brother.

Miller, the creator of "Animal House," incorporated some of his most outrageous memories of AD parties into his classic film. As he told The Dartmouth in a 1998 interview, the scene in "Animal House" when a Delta Tau Chi brother skis down the stairs as the band breaks into "Shout" did in fact happen at a Green Key party.

This year's lawn party may steer clear of the antics of past Green Key weekends, but AD brothers are confident that the party will go off without a hitch.

"I'm not worried about the safety of the party. There is no history of problems with the lawn party. I don't foresee any danger issues coming up. The only problem will be with liabilities with the school," Rutherford said.