Editorial: Don't give up on Skidmore traditions

Posted by the Editorial Board

In the wake of the second consecutive failed Moorebid Ball, the success of the Junior Ring dance last weekend provides grounds to discuss the future of Skidmore traditions.

Moorebid used to be a wholly different affair. Attendance was scarcely heavier than that of Junior Ring, the venue was off campus, and the festivities ended as scheduled, without a convoy of ambulances or frightening safety concerns. Over the past few years, however, attendance has grown along with the carnival excesses, and the Ball has become an embarrassment.

In subsequent discussions, SGA, Campus Safety and the Skidmore administration have made it clear that there are serious questions as to whether the College can continue to host an event such as Moorebid on campus. No decision has been made – the administration has formed a review board with the intention of having an answer during the spring semester – but it is possible that the Ball will be given a similar treatment to the Pride Alliance's once infamous Diva night, which was suspended for four years so that the culture surrounding the event might dissipate.

The swollen attendance numbers at Moorebid make the event a challenge to police, but they also represent the most important success of the Ball; it has increasingly become an event that brings together the majority of the College population, a rarity on the Skidmore calendar. Downsizing or suspending Moorebid will leave a considerable void. The only event with comparable attendance is Fun Day – there is no similar event in the fall semester.

Could Junior Ring fill that void? As it stands, it is a sort of quiet sequel to Moorebid, seeing less attendance but also less embarrassment and disaster. It is a genuine Skidmore tradition and generally succeeds in balancing an atmosphere of class with one of unpretentious college fun.

The fact is that Moorebid Ball, as a Halloween dance, brings very little to Skidmore culture that isn't found elsewhere around the country. Aside from the event's name, an artifact of the old downtown Moore Hall building, which the school sold in 2006, Moorebid Ball is less a timeless Skidmore tradition than it is an annual example of a conventional Halloween college dance.

Junior Ring, meanwhile, has been a Skidmore staple since the college's early days as an all-woman's vocational school. The dance has deep traditional roots, a culture and dress code that we students can call our own, rather than jump on the bandwagon with every other college cutting loose on Halloween.

In only a few years' time, there will be an entirely new batch of students on campus for whom the phrase ‘Moorebid Ball' means little. In the interim it is possible to redesign the landscape of our college culture and emerge with something much more fulfilling and stable than what we have now. Shifting emphasis on Junior Ring is of course, only one option. But the larger conversation about Skidmore's identity, its traditions, and the values that underpin such things, is something that will not go away and is worth confronting.

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