Despite rumors that Senior Cocktails would be cancelled in light of events last year, the senior class Officers announced on Friday that the first senior event, a blacklight Halloween party, will be held on Oct. 30. This will mark the first of five Senior Events for the class of 2011, including a Winter Formal and Spring Semi-Formal, all of which will reflect the Senior Cocktail tradition but will also include additional activities to promote an environment of class spirit.
“They’re not cocktails in the sense that the only things available at these events are alcohol and dancing—there are those components but also a number of activities involved,” said Senior Class Vice President AJ Chan ’11. “The main thing that we’re trying to create is an environment conducive to senior bonding. Over the past couple of years, there’s been a loss of focus on that, and the administration made it a point to change it so that events are about senior unity with alcohol, rather then just an alcohol-centered event.”
Assistant Director for Student Activities and Leadership Development Elisa Del Valle, who has been working with the Senior Class Officers to plan senior events, explained that the renaming of the event was key.
“The Senior Cocktail implies that the event is about cocktails, whereas the senior event implies a gathering for something else,” Del Valle said. “It’s a switch in language, but a switch in language can bring about a change in thought. The senior event is about spending time with people you’ve spent the last four years with, which is why alcohol hasn’t been eliminated.”
Senior Cocktails have raised security concerns in recent years, prompting the administration to implement such measures as hiring police officers and junior interns to man the event and requiring all students to present drink tickets when ordering alcoholic beverages. According to Del Valle, the administration began to consider restructuring the event last year after several troubling incidents occurred due to high intoxication.
“Students got arrested at one event for attempting to assault a police officer, there have been a couple hospital transports, and a couple other things have happened recently that were concerning and continued to manifest themselves regardless of the safeguards we implemented,” Del Valle said. “We didn’t feel like we were doing our best to keep our students safe. You all come for school, and academics come first, and if you’re all jeopardizing your lives and careers because you’re engaging in behavior you otherwise would not, that’s when we need to step in and do something.”
Following such events, rumors began to circulate on campus and on the Wesleyan Anonymous Confession Board (ACB) that Senior Cocktails would be cancelled indefinitely. According to Del Valle, no decision to cancel the events was ever officially made, although that possibility is not necessarily off the table.
“There was never talk about Cocktails not happening at all, it was just about a restructuring of the event,” she said. “It all depends on the behavior that we see. I can say in my own experience, the behavior has gotten worse and worse every year. My hope is that the class of 2011 does an awesome job so we can provide these events for classes to come. But I do know safety is our primary concern, and I think if we start to notice students are being unsafe and the event is not being used as a bonding experience, but as an excuse to be belligerent and disrespectful, then we will have to reevaluate. Being able to have senior events is a privilege, not a right, and if it’s a privilege, the class needs to work to keep it.”
The Senior Class Officers were informed of the renaming and restructuring of senior events prior to their election in the spring of last year. Although Chan could not disclose the exact details of the activities that would take place, he insisted that the Senior Class Officers would be working hard to promote a fun yet manageable environment.
“Students need to be responsible this year, because I think the administration isn’t going to have much wiggle room as far as people being completely out of hand,” Chan said. “I think there’s a lot more effort put into it this year by the Senior Class Officers. It doesn’t take that much effort to rent a place and plan the logistics of an event, but thinking about how to do it so that it creates that sort of environment does take some effort.”
Senior Class Officers are working closely with a Senior Advisory Board of approximately 25 students to get a better sense of what the class of 2011 hopes to experience in their final year. Members of this advisory board were informed about senior events prior to the official announcements and are working with Senior Class Officers to plan additional events.
“We’re going to try to feel out to see if there are other types of events and bonding activities that we can do that would promote senior unity,” Chan said. “The reason you go to Wesleyan after all is for the small, tight-knit community that’s really supportive here and after you graduate.”
Ticket sales began yesterday and will continue throughout the week in Usdan University Center from 12 to 1 p.m. They can also be purchased at Olin Library on Wednesday from 8 to 9:30 p.m. A senior pass for all five events can be purchased for $190 this week only, and a pass for the fall semester can be purchased for $150. A limited number of guest passes for non-seniors will be sold for $50.