Gator Day events are intended for students to investigate possibilities for their futures. Departments host open houses, there are workshops on how to apply for internships and jobs and there are panels available on a broad range of topics. The programming is chosen carefully, and it reflects the needs of the student body. However, it is notorious for being poorly attended.
Gator Day, and the night before (“Gator Day Eve”) have become code for something else entirely. On Gator Day itself, there are no classes, sports practices or extracurriculars.
This planning leaves the night before open for students to go out and party. This is clearly not what the Allegheny curriculum committee had in mind when it conceived Gator Day in 2012, which is why Allegheny Student Government voted to cancel all future Gator Days after the spring 2016 semester.
Even though the intended purpose of Gator Day may be lost on some (most) of the student body, others take advantage of the programming.
“I went to the Chemistry Open House, and the Internship and Research information session. The sessions could have been shorter, but they were helpful. There’s no other time that it would be appropriate to convey all this information to students, so having all this information available in one day is really convenient,” Dana O’Connor, ’19, said.
There are 112 days in the fall semester including weekends and days off. Forty-six days fell before fall break, leaving 66 remaining days. This means that this semester students had to come back and dive right into preparing for midterms, which was a hard transition after fall break. Allegheny is one of the most rigorous schools in the country according to Newsweek (and almost every single page on our admissions website). So it stands to reason that our students may need a day to catch up on homework or blow off steam from midterms.
“Going back to school after fall break was really stressful, I had a midterm to study for, and I had a lot of books to read. My workload seemed as if it doubled. I used Gator Day as a day off, some personal time was needed. I didn’t study or go to any of the programs, but I got to sleep in, and had some well needed social time. I felt less stressed afterwards for sure,” Michaela Schlichtkrull, ’19, said.
Whether or not the Gator Days are used by the student body for socializing or for career planning is sort of irrelevant. Students overwhelmingly endorse Gator Days. I can understand how, from a budget standpoint, cancelling the events makes sense. Gator Day is not commonly used for its express purpose, and it therefore may not be seen as worth any expenditures or time spent planning. However, the day off is highly anticipated by all. I completely understand why ASG voted to shut down the events of Gator Days. But I hope ASG at least considers keeping the day off. The post-fall break rut is a real issue, and Gator Day helps to reinvigorate the student body.