Fun Day Changes Meant to Ensure Safety Among Students
(Photo from Skidmore.edu)
Some Skidmore students have called Fun Day the best day of the year. Some students plan their outfits weeks in advance. The rest make sure they are as far away from campus that day as possible. When the recent Fun Day changes bubbled to the surface, responses from the student body was a mix of emotions and concerns.
On social media and around campus, it seemed students were adamant that the changes — which include registering beforehand and further restricting bottle use — would cause more binge drinking, not end it as is the goal.
According to Samantha Garcia ‘19, “It’s going to enforce and promote binge-drinking. What’s going to happen is you’re going to have a bunch of students drunk by ten in the morning because they’re trying to get really, really drunk for the next three hours. And then they’re going to be in the sun and you can’t even bring your own water — Fun Day always runs out of water, no matter how much they have.”
Emma Berkowitz ‘20 echoed this sentiment, saying “Students already have this image of Fun Day in their brains as something you have to be really drunk for, and so they’re just going to do it before getting to the event if alcohol is not allowed.”
In an campus-wide email, the Student Government Association explained that the changes come “Because of the high volume of transports at Junior Ring and other events, the school has required several changes to be made to Fun Day. These changes are intended to keep us safe, so we can have more fun.”
The email also cites concerns over local high school students sneaking into the event, which often results in hospitalizations. The registration and wristbands will hopefully be a solution to this problem. Yet this Fun Day remains a make it or break it point for students, as the entire event can be canceled if deemed appropriate.
Assistant Director of Student Leadership Tory Atkins is on the Alcohol and Other Drugs Task Force that helped come up with the changes. According to her, “our concern for student safety is at an all-time high. Student’s health and wellbeing are at the forefront of these decisions and, with that being said, the dangerous culture around this event can no longer continue.”
Other groups serving on this Task Force include students from the Fun Day committee, SCEMS and SGA. However, more than three weeks before April 27, when the event will occur, the Fun Day committee commissioner Bailey Mikytuck ‘20 resigned from her position. Mikytuck disagreed with the implementation strategy being used, saying that it had not given students enough time to process.
“When I signed up to be commissioner, I did not know that these changes were going to take place. So I started attending the AOD Task Force meetings because I was in the position, and that was about three weeks after I had gotten it. I tried to roll with the changes and embrace them. It wasn’t until Open Senate when I heard student feedback that I started re-evaluating based on the responses of students.”
When Mikytuck was still commissioner, she and SGA President Max Fleischman ‘19 brought a two year strategy to the Task Force that would allow for a more gradual change to the no bottles policy. This suggestion, however, was “not really heard in the meetings,” as explained by Mikytuck. A concern that had repeatedly come up for her — and continues to with Fleischman — is a surge in students considering hard drugs.
“What students are saying they are going to do, or have heard people say they are going to do, is either drink or do drugs,” explained Fleischman. “And I cannot endorse underage drinking or doing illegal drugs. So what we’re trying to do is provide the information for people to be safe. Whether or not the changes are effective at that, I think it’s more important that we focus on the education and making sure people know what they should and shouldn’t be doing.”
Nonetheless, the Fun Day changes are intended to keep the Skidmore student body safe, and is a bit of an experiment. Both Fleischman and Atkins hope students understand the nature of these changes, and discover that Fun Day can still be just that: fun.
“The best outcome for Fun Day is what we hope for every Fun Day,” explained Atkins. “That our community gets to spend time together on our beautiful campus. We know that there are students who choose to drink on Fun Day, but we hope that those who do make smart, well-informed decisions throughout the day. It’s our sincere hope that students can still enjoy Fun Day responsibly without endangering themselves or others.”
Students can now register here before picking up their wristbands at the Health Promotions office in Case Center.