Hanover gears up for first Green Key weekend since 2019

College administrators and the town of Hanover discuss preparations for Green Key 2022.

by Kristin Chapman and Frank Blackburn | 5/20/22 5:35am

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by Emil Liden / The Dartmouth

This article is featured in the 2022 Green Key special issue.

As the College and the town of Hanover prepare for the annual Green Key music festival for the first time in three years, organizers discussed challenges to planning the festival, as well as their hopes for the weekend. The festival will take place from May 18 to May 22, with the Progamming Board concert on May 20. 

Director of student involvement David Pack explained that there is not just one “Green Key Planning Committee,” but that Green Key is a “huge collaborative event” made possible by the town of Hanover and multiple organizations at the College –– just one of which is Programming Board. 

“[Green Key] takes collaboration with [the Office of] Conferences and Events, with the town, with Safety and Security –– Dartmouth EMS will be there, so it’s a big lift,” Pack said. “Other than Commencement, [Green Key] is one of the largest events that we host in Hanover.” 

Associate dean of student life Eric Ramsey wrote in an email statement that all organizations must register on-campus events over Green Key weekend with the Office of Student Life at the College, which coordinates the Green Key schedule to “minimize overlapping events and locations.” 

While the Programming Board’s headlining concert on Gold Coast Lawn is a cornerstone of the weekend, there are other groups on campus organizing their own events for Green Key weekend, including Dartmouth Dining, Collis Governing Board and Greek life.

Greek Life

Many Greek houses will sponsor events throughout the weekend. Andrew Bricklin ’23, chair of the GLC, said that the GLC has provided funding for a large number of the Green Key events hosted by Greek houses, including concerts, barbecues and a crawfish boil hosted by Zeta Psi fraternity and Kappa Delta sorority.

“When we talk about Green Key funding, obviously some of the [Greek] houses are spending their own [money],” Pack said. “And then some are also getting funding from the [Greek Leadership Council].”

Bricklin said that the amount GLC spends varies year to year, but that they have a larger budget this term because much of the annual funds allocated from the Undergraduate Finance Committee were unspent during the pandemic. Even so, the GLC sets an approximate limit of $3,000 per chapter per event, according to Bricklin. 

“Our overall budget this term for open to campus events was roughly $45,000, which again is much larger than we’d usually have for a spring term,” Bricklin said. “Usually we get around $60,000 a year from [UFC].”

Green Key events comprise the largest portion of the GLC’s spring budget, totalling “somewhere around $20,000” this year, according to Bricklin. Still, Green Key events hosted by Greek houses do not get all of their funding from the GLC — in reality, they are rarely the primary source of funds. 

“Usually the GLC budget, depending on the size of the event, can make up anywhere from 50% of the budget to 10 to 20% of the [funds for an event]  — it depends on how expensive the event is,” Bricklin said. 

Where each house gets the remaining money needed varies: some pay out of pocket themselves, while others “have alumni corporations that get involved,” Bricklin said. 

Dining 

Collis Governing Board and the Collis Center will also co-host the Green Key @ Collis concert series, which includes live music and a variety of food options, according to an emailed statement from senior assistant dean of student life Anna Hall. This year, the series will begin Thursday night with free barbecue and drinks, according to the Collis website

Pack and Elsbecker said that Collis will sponsor a cookout dinner on Friday evening with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. After the PB concert on Gold Coast Lawn, Collis After Dark will be hosting Late-Night Breakfast in Collis Common Ground, according to the Collis website. Elsbecker noted that there will also be an ice cream truck, pizza and catering from Panera on Saturday.

“[There will be] free food being given out all the time, basically, at Collis on Saturday,” Pack said. 

Director of Dartmouth Dining Services Jon Plodzik wrote in an email statement that Dartmouth Dining will reduce operating hours over Green Key weekend to ensure that students who typically work during those hours can attend the festival. In addition, Safety and Security will observe the Class of 1953 Commons on May 21 and 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to “prevent problems” and “unruly behavior,” he wrote. 

“Evening operations are curtailed at the Novack Café and the snack bars that Friday and Saturday. [Collis Market] in the Collis building will be closed for those days,” Plodzik wrote. “We will return to normal operations that Sunday of Green Key Weekend.” 

Plodzik also wrote that Dartmouth Dining will feature “popular” menu items from past years over Green Key weekend, including “chicken parmesan, mozzarella sticks, jalapeño poppers, fried chicken and macaroni and cheese.”

The Town

Hanover town manager Julia Griffin said that in the past, the festival has garnered “regional” attention and drawn concertgoers unaffiliated with the College, putting a strain on the area’s safety resources. 

She said these safety-related concerns led to a discussion between representatives from the town and the College to only permit current students and alumni from the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 to attend the PB main concert. Pack hopes that this no-guest policy will help alleviate the pressure on town resources. 

“If a student is injured at the concert or is intoxicated and needs to chill out for a while, they can go to Dick’s House,” Pack said. “If a student’s guest is in the same position, they can’t go to Dick’s House.”

Though alumni from the Classes of 2020 and 2021 will not have access to Dick’s house, the town and the College decided it was important for these years to be able to attend due to their having missed the big weekend in the years of the pandemic. 

Griffin said she also helps advise the planning of the festival with considerations from neighborhoods surrounding campus. She added that she hopes organizations hosting concerts, as well as performers, respect noise complaints when they happen and turn the volume down. 

“This is an event for the College community to participate in and celebrate,” Griffin said. “I think we try to sort of find a balance that encourages the town to continue to approve these events and also gives people a lot of options for things to do during Green Key weekend.”

Elsbecker said that PB wants to balance maintaining a positive relationship with the town and meeting the needs of students and the concert.

“We want to protect the ability to hold a Green Key and maintain a good relationship with the town moving forward,” Elsbecker said.

Despite the challenges of planning for such a weekend, Pack said one of the highlights of his job is helping students organize Green Key. 

“I really just enjoy being able to work with students to bring music to Hanover that wouldn't otherwise be here –– it’s not exactly a major destination for a lot of artists, so to be able to bring genres and music that may not otherwise be seen in the area is really exciting,” he said.

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