The now infamous “Kamon-I-wan-a-leia” party at the Log several weeks ago brings light to a larger problem on the Williams campus: a general frustration, especially felt by freshman, over the lack of fun activities during the weekend nights. Let’s get past the over-sensationalized front page article which appeared in The Record on Jan. 22 and evaluate what this event says about our institution.
First, we must evaluate the facts. A very competent group of people put together a party that genuinely appealed to the student body, and consequently was very popular (read: crowded). The large mass of college students got a bit rowdy, one girl’s bathing suit was pulled down and a security guard was knocked over.
If this is the most scandalous party that occurs over the course of the year at Williams, perhaps we should reconsider our definition of scandalous. We are a generation of American youth who grew up associating the college experience with “Animal House,” listening to music proclaiming the wild nature of college and hearing stories about the raucous parties which occur only during these four magic years. The experience of going to college has become the vision quest of the modern American. You enter as a child and leave as an adult. It is a time to experience new things, good and bad. A time to live it up, act like a kid while you still can and just have a hell of a good time.
Of course, as we are all too keenly aware here at Williams, college is also an academic endeavor. Perhaps this is where the problem lies. The “work hard, play hard” clichÃ© is often used to describe the ideal college experience. Although Williams undoubtedly fulfills the first part of that sentiment, some students seem to find it difficult to fulfill the second. As freshmen, my friends and I often find ourselves sitting in our common room by midnight after touring the campus and finding nothing. Perhaps we are simply not aware of the better parties, but it is more likely that there is little to do. This condition often leaves students feeling like they are missing out on something which it is their right to have: the crazy college night. I am not saying that those do not occur here â€“ they surely do, but too infrequently and for too few students. There is an unquenched desire on this campus for something exciting and wild; something which makes a good story; something which only happens in college.
How, you may be asking, does this apply to the incident at the Log and understanding what this out-of-hand party tells us about our school? This incident represents Williams students’ frustration with the activities on campus. Simply mention ‘wet t-shirt contest’ and students are literally crawling through windows and breaking down doors. Quite frankly, they want to be sitting around a few months later recalling that crazy wet t-shirt contest. Nobody sits around drinking and talks about First Fridays at Goodrich.
Perhaps I’m off the mark. I am, as I said, only a freshman. However, I think that the societal image of college has had a large influence in forming each of our ideas about what these four magic years ought to be. When we realize that our vision is not a reality, we are upset.
It is said that a person who points out what is wrong renders only half a service unless he can point out what is right. I will have to resign myself to rendering half a service then, for I have no fantastic ideas for treating the problem which I vaguely describe. This piece is by no means an indictment of those who plan parties on campus. I applaud their efforts and thank them. I am only trying to frame the incidents which occurred at the Log in a different perspective.
As for the Log, closing it down would simply exacerbate the problem. However, it seems as though the school, in its infinite compassion, is going to give us another chance. As Jean Thorndike, director of campus safety said, “if students do not conduct themselves in a more responsible and thoughtful manner, I’ll have to consider [closing the Log] as a viable option.” Well Jean, I’ve been to a number of other schools, and Williams students are some of the most responsible and thoughtful students in the country. However, we don’t have to be responsible and thoughtful all the time. It’s our right, as college students, to be crazy and irresponsible sometimes. Remember, it’s all about “work hard, play hard,” right?