Student Concerns for Springfest

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Too early.  Too cold.  Too many prospective students.  Students have several complaints and questions about this year’s Springfest celebration.

Hillary Houghton, the Major Events Committee (MEC) co-chair for Gators Activities Programming (GAP) as well as the Vice President of Annual Events for GAP, said Springfest was early this year due to the academic calendar.

“We took into consideration religious holidays and other campus activities and planned around them,” said Houghton, ’10.

Contrary to Allegheny’s tradition of having Springfest activities on Brooks Walk, this year’s festivities will be primarily held in the Campus Center.

“All activities are indoors because of the nature of the events taking place. To go with our Las Vegas theme, we are recreating a casino.  Rain or wind could seriously impact the success of this event, like, ‘Oops, my card blew away.’”

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The Springfest theme “Las Vegas: What Happens at Springfest Stays at Springfest” was decided by an MEC majority vote, from a pool of several ideas that were brought up at the MEC meetings, according to Houghton.

“I think you should be able to gamble McKinley’s munch money,” said Michael Babeji, ’11. “I play poker well; I could walk out of there with an extra $500.”

Crime blotters in the past years have shown that Springfest weekend often coincides with many underage drinking citations.  There have been concerns that possible repetition of this behavior will negatively affect Admissions, but Houghton says “prospective students should not be an issue.”

“It was taken into consideration that Springfest should not take place during any Admissions event,” Houghton said.  “MEC strives to create events where alcohol is not involved.”

Students, particularly campus tour guides, have concerns about the timing of the coinciding Admissions Sneak Preview, whether or not specific events are planned around the tours.

“I understand that Admissions wants prospective students to see a bustling campus, but when you factor in the alcohol – and you need tour guides to patrol the campus for beer cans before tours – then you have a problem,” said Admissions Tour Guide Karen Feltz, ’12.

“I know it’s a good time to show off the college’s diversity and the good things we bring, but you have the risk of exposing prospective students to the more unspoken side of college during that time and it’s potentially hazardous,” Babeji said.

Senior Assistant Director of Admissions Bob Baldwin is the head coordinator of the Sneak Preview Admissions events that will coincide with Springfest.  He acknowledges that partying will happen and that Admissions will have to work around it.  Admissions plans to work with Safety and Security, the Power Plant, and Maintenance to keep the campus as clean and presentable as possible during the festivities.

“Certainly, we are aware of it and we just hope Allegheny students will have fun in a way that’s respectful and courteous of the visitors and members of the Meadville community,” Baldwin said.

Admissions events were originally planned for the Saturday of Springfest but then were changed to the Friday evening and Sunday afternoon when much of the celebration is expected to be settled.

“We’re happy that our students celebrate the Spring with so much gusto,” Baldwin said. “It’s a celebration that happens only once a year.”

Although, Springfest could happen twice this year, considering the popular response to a recent, student-created Facebook group entitled “Springfest 2.”

The Springfest 2 group description states, “At most colleges, once it gets warm, people party all the time. That has not been the case at Allegheny and it is very disappointing. The purpose of this group is to organize a second springfest on the weekend on April 24th. Hopefully it will be warm then. I am aware that there are other school events that weekend and I do not intend for this to interfere.”

Andy Klaben-Finegold, ’11, created the Springfest 2 Facebook group “because it was the easiest way to reach out to many people at once and get the ball rolling on a second Springfest.”

“I believe that people want a second one, especially because the first one is so early,” Klaben-Finegold said. “I do not know why the school moved Springfest to early April, but it seems consistent with their theme of cutting back on partying by buying up all the houses around school, and particularly targeting the party houses.”

The “Springfest 2” Facebook group already has 424 members as of Wednesday, April 07, 2010.

“I hope that the group encourages people to go out that weekend, though I know it is close to exams,” Klaben-Finegold said. “The concert will be a good time. Relay for life is fun and I dont think Springfest 2 will overlap.”

According to weather.com, temperatures for Friday range from 32˚F to 40˚F with expected rain and snow showers.

“Also, if the weather is bad this weekend, I believe there will be even more excitement for the second one,” Klaben-Finegold said. “The worst part about having Springfest this weekend is that it may be cold and rainy. The best part of Springfest is being outside.”

“As far as Springfest 2 is concerned, because it is not an MEC or campus event, we have no comment about what individual students are planning,” Houghton said.

Check out the Springfest Facebook event at: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=108007979233850&ref=ts

Check out the “Springfest 2” Facebook event at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=325332744841&ref=ts

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