Green Key Perceptions

by Sara Kassir | 5/16/13 10:00pm

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by Allison Wang / The Dartmouth

Students often change their minds about many aspects of Dartmouth throughout their timehere, but whether you are a freshman, senior or alumnus, it's unlikely that your perspective on Green Key will evolve.After experiencing the weekend last year, Chase Mertz '15 agreed with the enthusiastic freshmen.

"Compared to our other big weekends, Green Key is the one with the least meaning," Mertz said. "It's just a weekend to relax and enjoy the nice weather that we've waited so long for."

With several Green Key weekends under his belt by his senior spring, Michael Sanchez '13 echoed the idea that the weekend's primary goal is to have a good time. Like many students, he always enjoys the block party held by Phi Delta Alpha fraternity, and looks forward to new events such as Programming Board's concert on the Gold Coast lawn.

"It's really just a long weekend of partying," Sanchez said. "It's a chance for us to de-stress from classes and enjoy the early stages of spring because winter is just so long and painful."

Like her classmates, Sophie Choi '14 is anticipating the weekend for its ample opportunities to be outside without feeling guilty for slacking on work.

"The happy, care-free attitude of Green "Green Key might manifest itself in different activities for different people," she said. "This year, I'm personally really excited to see my friends from the '12 class come back and reconnect with them."The lack of diversity in students' opinions on Green Key likely signals the fact that it is universally loved. But while we do not often think about it, our several days of celebration might have an entirely different connotation for others at the College and in the greater community.

Woody Eckels grew up in Hanover and is now the director of Residential operations. Having witnessed the College's many Green Key weekends, he is well aware of the activities that students engage in, as well as the repercussions for his department.

"My understanding is that it's a social weekend and many of the GLOS organizations put on open parties with a combination of alcohol-free and alcohol-present events," he said. "And we see an increased amount of damage in the buildings on that weekend."

While dorm mischief might seem like little more than a good story when Monday rolls around, for custodial services, such activity results in a lot of extra cleanup. Residential operations typically has extra staff on duty for the entirety of Green Key.

Eckels anoted that "non-facilities issues" arise more frequently. While students are familiar with undergraduate advisors on shifts during big weekends, a community director is also on call to handle situations that might arise.

Dining Services director David Newlove's concept of Green Key is fairly similar to that of the student body, an outdoor celebration with an ambiguous theme. Given that students both eat and work at the College's dining halls, it is logical that the weekend brings certain accommodations from DDS.

"Our areas that are staffed with primarily undergraduates Novack, East Wheelock snack bar, and Collis Market tend to close because nobody wants to work since it's a fun weekend," he said. "It's also a weekend when we have to hire Safety and Security because of the shenanigans' that tend to happen."

Newlove noted that DDS tries to provide more appealing meals given the weekend's festivities.

"We try to offer food that's more grab-and-go," he said. "Things like nachos, things that will be fun for students and keep stomachs full."

But dining halls aren't the only sources of food that students make use of. Naturally, two of the restaurants most frequented by students in town are influenced by the weekend's activities.

Maureen Bogosian, owner of Everything But Anchovies, said the restaurant sees twice as much business over Green Key. While dealing with students in search of a late night meal is not always easy, her staff is well practiced.

"It's always a challenge getting delivers to dorms, but they're pretty good at it," she said. "The staff uses cell phones to talk to the customers one-on-one so they can ask What room are you in now?' or How can I find you?'"

Lou's owner Toby Fried views Green Key as a part of a series of major weekends near the end of spring. With the Native American Program's annual Powwow, First-Year Family Weekend and graduation, the restaurant's staff becomes accustomed to increased activity.

"It does get crazy and we just try to keep the quality as good as we can," he said. "We put more staff on, but the problem is the size you can only have so many people on."

While most students look forward to the first time they complete the Lou's Challenge by staying up until the restaurant opens at 6 a.m., staff members are less enthusiastic.

"At one time, we were open 24 hours on Friday, but we don't do that anymore," Fried said. "Mainly, the waitresses don't want students falling down the stairs or throwing up in the bathroom. Nobody wants to have to clean it up."

With alumni returning to campus, Fried also noted that the bakery tries to have classic items available for purchase.

"For Green Key, you have alumni coming back, so you want to bring in stuff from the past," he said. "Donuts have sort of plateaued out with everyone being healthy eaters, but for people who aren't here all the time, they come back and love having those."

Hanover High students have also heard a thing or two about one of the most hyped weekends at Dartmouth. For soon-to-be graduates planning to attend Dartmouth in the fall like Katherine Bradley, it is only natural to want to be aware of what the next year will bring.

"What I've heard is that Green Key is sort of like the Winter Carnival of the spring," she said. "People start partying early in the afternoon and keep it going all weekend long."

While Hanover students attempting to gain access to Greek houses is often problematic, Green Key in particular seems to be attractive to curious high schoolers.

"I know that there's a fair amount of Hanover kids who attempt to go every year," Bradley said. "Usually, they can get into frats with relative ease, but I have heard a few stories of people having to make narrow escapes out windows or things like that."

Our administrators and faculty are observant, the surrounding town is close-knit and the influence we have on the environment is significant. It is no surprise that those outside of the Dartmouth student body have come to develop their own interpretations on the significance of Green Key and what the weekend entails.

Not to sound like your mother, but given that our community does so much for one of our favorite celebrations of the year, perhaps the best advice would be to consider how your actions might affect others this weekend.

With that in mind, soak up some sun and go celebrate. Happy Green Key!