Why Johnny Harvard Can't Party
THE temperature reached 95 degrees a couple of weeks ago. I think it's safe to say that spring has arrived in Cambridge. Fun, on the other hand, has not.
The arrival of spring on a college campus should mean a celebration. It should mean a time to forget about the lonely winter and bask in the warmth of the sun. It should be a time to forget that we made a stupid mistake by not choosing Stanford or Duke or any other university that would have saved us from the horror of New England winters, a time to frolic in the good weather while we can.
It should be a time to cut loose, lose all inhibitions through the use of whatever substances necessary, and to hold wild, crazy, unexpurgated, orgies.
Or at the very least, it should be a time for a Spring Fling weekend.
CAN anyone deny that we deserve it? After sitting through large and boring Core lectures, shivering through a cold New England winter and watching Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 implement non-ordered choice, we deserve to forget our suffering and go nuts for a weekend.
I suppose that some people (mostly defensive Undergraduate Council members) would argue that spring activities better serve the Harvard community when they are spread out over a few weekends--a barbecue here, a few bands in the Quad there, a Ziggy Marley concert if we're lucky.
But rather than bringing the entire community together at different times, the effect of the events is diluted. A small percentage of the student body goes to each event, and the rest of the students grind away as if it were any other time of the year.
For one weekend, all Harvard students need to put everything aside and say what the f-heck.
Is there a good reason why every other college with something resembling a campus has a "spring weekend," "Springfest" or "Spring Fling?" Tufts had one. Penn recently had its Spring Fling. Even Wellesley, whose students are notorious for leaving campus for a social life, had one, goshdarnit.
Meanwhile, Harvard sat on its collective ass.
We could have been having some fun. Entertainment in the Quad, bands between Memorial Church and Widener, carnival-like games down by the River, volleyball and softball down by Soldiers Field Park, food and drink everywhere.
At night, the bands could get going again, with dancing all over campus and more rapid flow of the fine ale. The "Bring On the Summer" parties would kick in, with shorts the norm and Good Vibrations everywhere.
This could have all happened on the weekend before Reading Period. It didn't.
THE people in charge of organizing spring activities sit on the Undergraduate Council's social committee. When asked about the lack of a Spring Fling this year, members cited reasons ranging from "we thought it would be better to have different activities spread out over different weekends" to "what if it rained that weekend?" to "we had complications with the dates of each activity."
Some may question the necessity of the Undergraduate Council or any other group planning our fun. Don't kid yourselves. We need organization to have fun. We need to be able to whip out our appointment books and pencil in "FUN--9:51 p.m. to 12:37 a.m." We need to be able to calculate the optimal factor allocation of work and play in order to achieve maximum efficiency.
Considering our need for organization, wouldn't it be easier just to pencil in a whole weekend for a Spring Fling?
One problem would be finding a place to put everyone where access could be controlled and alcohol legally served. Ever since Harvard Real Estate banished kegs from Memorial Hall, there has been no available enclosed space large enough to accomodate all undergraduates. One possible solution is to cordon off the MAC Quad for an afternoon, as is done for "Riverfest" in the fall.
The more significant obstacle is the College's foolish pretense that the house system is capable of providing an adequate social life. Thus, the undergraduate population is divided into tiny portions for Thropstock, Quincy Spring Weekend, Quadfest, etc.
WHY is it so important that the entire College party together? The answer is guilt. With small groups having fun at different times, you can never fully enjoy yourself. You know that somewhere out there, there is a person who is studying, and you're not; and that person will get a better grade than you, get into a better law/medical/business school than you, get a higher paying job and have a better-looking spouse.
But if everyone lets loose together, celebrating the almost-end of the semester, the fun is remarkably guilt-free. At Harvard, a little positive peer pressure can go a long way.
With some energetic organizers, there is no reason why a Spring Fling would be unsuccessful at Harvard. OK, so we're all uptight and the administration seems determined to stop us from enjoying ourselves. But other than that, there's no reason why Harvard students can't party in groups larger than a SONG meeting.
The barbeque behind Sever was...nice. Quadfest was...in the Quad. The raft race is... cancelled. We need more. We need a weekend set aside for pure fun, games and general debauchery. Even Harvard students are not above a little frivolousness every once in a while.