Students look forward to weekend of sunshine and parties

by Amelia Acosta | 5/17/12 10:00pm

As Green Key weekend arrives, students prepare to shake off the last remaining vestiges of winter and celebrate the sunshine with friends. Although the weekend is less steeped in history and tradition than Homecoming or Winter Carnival, it is one of the most beloved times at the College, students said.

While Green Key offers many planned activities, the most important priority and true "embodiment of happiness" is relaxing and spending time with friends, according to Seanie Civale '14.

"Green Key literally means friendship in the sunshine," Civale said. "It's everything that's good in the world, and it's everything you usually do plus sunshine. It's a time when the community unites in love and happiness."

Civale added that she hopes to "watch the sun rise" each night of the weekend.

The long-awaited arrival of good weather is one characteristic that distinguishes Green Key from other campus weekends and from spring weekends at other colleges, according to Chris Whitehead '12.

"F. Scott Fitzgerald once described Princeton [University] as the most pleasantest country club in America,'" Whitehead said. "I don't know if that's true but I do know that for one weekend every year, Dartmouth comes darn close to being that, except everyone's in on the fun. It's a weekend that we dedicate to doing nothing but being around your friends the whole way."

The climbing temperature and blooming trees can have a truly transformative effect, according to Hilary Campbell '14.

"Green Key kind of embodies what I imagine a college campus in the spring to look like," Campbell said.

The opportunity to remain on campus while the weather is enjoyable and other schools are "busy going on summer break" gives Green Key a "celebratory atmosphere" despite the impending pressure of finals, according to Charlie Laud '14.

"It's a time when we really all come together to recognize the wonderful experience that is Dartmouth for all of us," Laud said.

Green Key is marked by many outdoor events, including live music and the Block Party hosted by Phi Delta Alpha fraternity on Webster Avenue. Moving weekend celebrations out of fraternity basements makes them more enjoyable and universal, Laud said.

"Unlike other big weekends, so much is going on outside, and it really reduces the exclusivity that some people feel about the Greek system," Laud said. "As long as you're there to have fun you are part of what everyone else is doing."

The pace on campus seems to "slow" for this big weekend, according to Alexi Pappas '12.

"Green Key is hazy in the best way, either sober or drunk," Pappas said. "For me, Green Key means spending good time with friends and accomplishing very little other than that. It rules."

Pappas is also excited to spend time with alumni who return to Dartmouth for the weekend, which she called her "favorite part" of the celebration.

For many, the weekend provides a chance to reconnect with friends who haven't graduated but who have been "buried in the stacks" for the past several weeks, according to Campbell. During Green Key, she plans to make these friends a priority.

"It's the one weekend of the year where I let myself forget about any particular plans or work and enjoy spending time with the people I should have spent more time with during the term," she said.

School work can often take a backseat due to the temptations of live music and outdoor partying outweighing the lure of the library, according to John D'Antonio '14.

"Green Key is just plain fun," he said. "You get to hang out with your friends all weekend and not worry about school. You're outside and its beautiful and everyone is having a good time."

For some, however, including Maia Matsushita '13, academics will overshadow the festive atmosphere, and Green Key will largely be experienced through a window from the Periodicals Room.

"I'm probably going to miss out on so many fun things, because I have a midterm Monday," Matsushita said. "Worst Green Key ever."

The choice between fun and academics is one every student will have to make, according to Campbell, who compared the weekend to "Groundhog Day."

"Green Key is kind of a test," she said. "Some people will look outside and see the sun and decide its summer and have the best weekend of their lives. Some people will be intimidated and duck back into their hole in the stacks."

For athletes wrapping up physically demanding and time-intensive seasons, the weekend takes on a special significance, according to Jon Brady '14.

"It means liberation, relaxation, a chance to let loose after training so hard and a reward at the end of the season," Brady said. "I want to hang out with friends and see the roommates I've barely been able to hang out with. I'm going to go crazy for one weekend and then bring it back down to reality."

Students who are off-campus for the term have "mixed emotions" about the weekend, according to Nik Medrano '14, who is in Buenos Aires, on a Foreign Study Program. In addition to missing out fondly-remembered activities, Green Key is also a reminder of the "friends and people" at Dartmouth that are sorely missed, he said.

"I'm mildly surprised at exactly how sad I am that I'm not going to be in Hanover for Green Key this spring," Medrano said. "It was hands down the most magical weekend of last year. However, I obviously plan on bringing Green Key to Buenos Aires to compensate."

Whether chaotically busy or ready to forget every care in the world, Green Key can amount to "movie magic" if you let it, according to Rita Louise-Montour '13.

"It's those scenes where the students are partying and then sleeping on the Green or tossing a frisbee around," she said. "But mostly partying."

Medrano is a member of The Dartmouth Staff.

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