Future of Gator Day in question

A petition to end Gator Day programming has been submitted to the College Faculty Council, according to Associate Professor of Economics Stephanie Martin.  

Martin said the petition currently has 20 faculty signatures. The petition lists the faculty’s complaints about the event, saying it was originally pitched as a student-lead event, which it no longer is. It says this creates more work for the faculty.

“Some faculty feel that the Gator Day activities were pitched on the faculty floor as largely student-led and as a community building tool,” the petition reads.   

Associate Provost and Dean of the College Terrence Bensel said as of now Gator Days are scheduled to be on the academic calendar for 2016-17 on Oct. 25 and April 4. He said all that remains is for the faculty to vote on whether to approve the proposed academic calendar.

“Because it required a change to the academic calendar, Gator Days came about by a vote of the faculty. As such, it would only go away by a vote of the faculty as well,” Bensel said.

While Gator Days are slated to continue for the next academic year, Jim Fitch, director of career education, said there are challenges posed in planning Gator Day programming.

“I think it’s an event that hasn’t really found its place,” Fitch said. “We are competing with at least one bar downtown that is offering Gator Day eve specials.”

Fitch said the largest issue they have is getting students to attend. He said they have learned to have fewer events in order to increase turnout at those events. Tuesday’s Gator Day, he said, had a decent turnout. According to Fitch, none of the events had fewer than 20 students in attendance and the economics department had more than 100 students attend.  

I think it’s an event that hasn’t really found its place. We are competing with at least one bar downtown that is offering Gator Day Eve specials.

— Jim Fitch

“My perception of this past Gator Day is less is more,” Fitch said.

Fitch said he feels that many faculty members would like to see changes made to Gator Day in order to make it more beneficial to the campus community.

“My perception is that faculty would like to see the structure of Gator Day changed in some way,” he said.

The petition currently suggests other uses for the days which are blocked out for Gator Day. One proposal in the petition suggests hosting a Senior Project Celebration with no classes so students could view the work of the senior class.   

Zach Kaufman, ’17, said how helpful Gator Day is depends on where you are as a student at Allegheny.

“I think it depends on what year you are. A lot of the events are geared toward underclassman,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman said he feels Gator Day should continue because it will benefit some students. He said the day may just become more targeted  toward their needs.  

“It should continue,” he said. “Even if it is only geared toward the underclassmen.”