New Traditions Committee holds promise

The Senior Class Council is currently saddled with the burden of planning and executing large all-campus events like Serenading and Halloween Weekend. These types of events take a lot of time and effort to organize, rack up the most instances of damage to buildings and harm to students and are typically difficult to plan because of the lack of interested volunteers for the various planning positions and committees.

In the past few Vassar Student Association (VSA) Council Meetings, council members have formulated plans to establish a Traditions Committee that would be composed of passionate students and would handle the brunt of planning these types of events.

We at The Miscellany News feel that this idea is a promising one that could be extended to cover all-campus events not only hosted by class councils but also house teams.

Groups that host these large all-campus events are given a daunting, often stressful task that falls on the shoulders of a few individuals. Many organizations choose to host all-campus events regardless, but class councils and house teams are often expected to do so even if it’s not a requirement for them as it is for VSA-certified organizations.

Historically, Serenading and Halloweekend have been planned by the Senior Class and events like Seven Deadly Sins and Primal Scream Pancakes are hosted by house teams. While these groups of students may be qualified for the undertaking of these events, having a committee responsible for planning and hosting them would ensure that a more diverse group of students would have a say in all stages of their realization.

Furthermore, having a separate, voluntary committee of students dedicated to planning of these events would ensure that tasks would be given to students who are invested in the success of the event and are not merely obligated to plan them due to their involvement in house team or class council. In opening up these event-planning processes, students who may have issues with how large functions are run would have the opportunity to have more of a direct say in them.

That being said, we at The Miscellany News also believe that the name “Traditions Committee” may not be an appropriate for this committee. As the VSA conceives it, the Traditions Committee would seek to uphold the traditions of the college. However, since many of these historically enduring all-campus events have been canceled, the committee should instead seek to uphold the remaining traditional events that work while also making a concerted effort to introduce new events to campus that could also hold promise for becoming annual functions..

We at The Miscellany News also believe that the Traditions Committee would be advantageous in establishing more institutional memory among students planning these large events.

While house teams and class councils may pass down their knowledge to incoming members, the relaying of information about the shortcomings and successes of events is not always assured.

A committee whose sole purpose would be handling large all-campus events could more easily preserve and pass down this knowledge to future committees.

The Traditions Committee also would generally take much of the burden off of groups that are already responsible for many other tasks with more priority than all-campus events. While house teams may still remain interested in holding their annual events, if they think their efforts would be better served elsewhere, they should feel free to do so trusting that there is a committee that could host the event should there still be a demand for it.

Oftentimes, house teams feel compelled to host these traditional events because the cost of the event has already been figured into their annual budget. House teams are given a yearly budget with the expectation that some of the house’s money will go towards programming. This practice leads to house teams feeling pressed to host events so as to use up the money they were given for this purpose.

If this responsibility was given to a committee, there would be less pressure on house teams to hold events. As a result, house budgets could be used solely for the interests of the house.

Moreover, the most successful all-campus events are ones that are established and, historically, have had a good turnout. However, age old traditions are often canceled each year. Such is the case with 50 Nights, the Shiva Rave, Day Glo Toga and HomoHop, which were all disbanded due to student behavior and other disorderly conduct.

Often when these events are canceled, no new events are organized to take their place and new events that have recently arisen have not been met with the same level of success—perhaps because they lack the historical resonance.

Recently, the Josselyn House Team hosted Battle of the Bands, which had a fairly good turnout. Straying away from typical house team-hosted parties by creating more interest-specific events could spur greater success for all-campus festivities.

We at The Miscellany News believe that focusing on a particular interest, instead of throwing an event for the sake of it, will allow for more successful events. Therefore, the creation of a new committee will allow interested students with perhaps a wider  variety of perspectives to work together toward a goal all are passionate about.

Ultimately, we at The Miscellany News support the creation of a committee that aids house teams and class councils in throwing all-campus parties  and believe it would result in more successful events.


—The Staff Editorial represents the opinions of at least 2/3 of the Editorial Board.

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