This past weekend saw not just Vassar’s annual 50 Nights celebration, commemorating the final weeks of school for seniors, but also a new raffle policy set by the Office of Residential Life to accommodate underclassmen interested in staying as guests for Senior Week. As the two events deeply involve the senior class, students already expect the Senior Class Council’s involvement in the planning of both.
However, this year in particular represents an exceptional effort by the class council for these events to even take place, and furthermore to be executed successfully. Therefore, we at The Miscellany News believe the Class of 2015 Council deserves commendation for their work, both in ensuring a successful 50 Nights celebration, but also for negotiating with the Office of Residential Life an effective policy for signing in underclassmen considering the office originally denied this option for Senior Week events.
Earlier in the year, few students expected a 50 Nights celebration to be held at all, let alone at The Chance Theater. Last April, following severe destruction of The Chance including damage to four out of five buses used to transport students to and from campus, it was believed that future 50 Nights events would be canceled due to poor student behavior—much like the cancelation of the Shiva Rave and HomoHop.
It wasn’t until the March 2 VSA Council Meeting that 2015 Class President Zoe Fullerton confirmed that, contrary to popular belief on campus, there would indeed be a 50 Nights event this year, held once again at The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie,
The fact alone that this event was authorized following last year’s complications demonstrates how significant the efforts of the Senior Class Council, ViCE and other campus organizations must have been in order to convince Vassar administrators to permit the event. The reported success of this year’s 50 Nights celebration further demonstrates the Senior Class Council’s ability to also ensure future senior classes can also have the celebration.
Another recent success of the senior class came after the Office of Residential Life announced to seniors on April 16 that a raffle system for signing in underclassmen to stay during Senior Week would be put in place. Originally, in an email to the Class of 2015 on April 3, Director of Residential Life Luis Inoa stated no underclassmen could be signed in for Senior Week.
This announcement meant that seniors could not request underclassmen to stay during the time between the last day of finals and commencement for campus events. The reasoning for this was due to the significant number of students already staying on campus, and the exceptionally long Senior Week taking place this year.
However, Inoa later reevaluated the situation. In his most recent email, he mentioned the negotiation process that had taken place “After talking things through with your class representatives we have decided to reconsider our initial position,” he wrote. Res Life will now instead have a raffle system, where any seniors interested in signing in guests through Commencement could enter to randomly win a chance to sign one person in for Senior Week.
While it’s already part of Vassar culture for the senior class to sign in underclassmen through Commencement, the raffle system is even an improvement to previous systems for authorizing Senior Week sign-ins. Previously the Office of Residential Life would offer sign-ins at a first-come first-served rate through an online form.
This meant students not awake or available when the form went online would be unlikely to sign in underclassmen, and that those who even filled out the online form immediately would not necessarily know if they had successfully signed in an underclassmen, as the system depended on each user being able to type quickly and have a strong internet connection. The new system instead offers everyone interested in signing in underclassmen an equal chance to do so. While the random nature of the raffle process will exclude some students from staying, this solution allows for a more fair and equal approach.
Some students, through social media and anonymous online message boards like Yik Yak, have criticized members of the Senior Class Council for a variety of reasons. However, it is unlikely these events would have even taken place, let alone in their current form, without the council’s efforts.
It is already a privilege, not a right, to have these campus events and opportunities available to the senior class, and previous senior classes have unfortunately put these privileges in jeopardy. However the tactful actions of Senior Class Council have given students a second chance to prove their ability to act responsibly at student events, as well as to have a more enjoyable Senior Week.
Ultimately the success of student events, especially large events such as 50 Nights and Senior Week, depends on not just effective planning from the senior class council, but also collaboration, negotiation and communication with the appropriate administrative offices. While the student body has yet to see events like HomoHop or the Shiva Raid return, it’s fortunate to see how positive an outcome can come from a situation like the wake of 50 Nights. With a different leadership, there’s no guarantee that the Class of 2015 would have had either 50 Nights or an opportunity to sign in students for the seniors’ last days on campus.
—The Staff Editorial represents the opinions of at least 2/3 of our Editorial Board.