We at the Record applaud the recent effort by last year’s College Council (CC) and the Office for Student Life (OSL) to significantly reduce the cost of Senior Week, beginning with the Class of 2016. By effectively working together to determine how to continue to fund certain groups while creatively reappropriating other budgets to cover the cost of Senior Week, the College has demonstrated a commitment to inclusivity, class consciousness and fiscal responsibility.
This decision not only benefits all future seniors, regardless of their financial situation, but also the College as it strives to maintain and strengthen lasting, positive relationships with soon-to-be alumni. Senior Week is integral to the senior experience, and working towards making it more inclusive will serve to improve relations between graduating seniors and the College, specifically with the development office, the office of alumni relations and the office of college relations.
In years past, the cost of Senior Week was more than just the College “nickel and diming” students one last time. In the most serious of cases, the former system marginalized individuals for whom the cost was a financial burden. While students on financial aid paid for Senior Week on a sliding scale under the old structure, this provision elucidated a whole host of additional problems as the College did not pick up the difference between the full cost of attending and the price that financial aid students ultimately paid. This previous method is no way to fund the week-long celebration of the College experience, and we commend OSL and CC for recognizing the shortcomings of the former payment system.
In addition to helping eliminate class divisions, the new payment system will aid in quelling the reasonable criticism of Senior Week costing the same to attend for both people who choose to drink and those who choose not to drink. We at the Record recognize that a significant portion of Senior Week funding goes toward purchasing alcohol and find issue with the former system, where nondrinking seniors would have paid the same amount of money even if they chose not to partake. We believe, however, that significantly reducing or eliminating the cost of Senior Week will dispel these concerns.
We at the Record also commend OSL and CC for the reevaluation of budget priorities after recognizing that the Entertainment Co-Sponsorship Fund (EComm) was being underutilized and appropriated money was going unspent. We believe that the benefits of transferring certain funds towards Senior Week and away from EComm outweigh any potential cons.
Ultimately, attempting to lessen the limitations of class status that segment the College by decreasing the cost of Senior Week is a laudable achievement that speaks to the College’s attention to class consciousness. We recommend that the College continue to show this class consciousness by further evaluating aspects of campus life. For example, we suggest an evaluation of First Days programming, as an effective “bookends” counterpart to Senior Week. A similar aspect of First Days programming which could be inspected is the $10 fee required for students to participate in WOOLF. We also recognize that other Senior Week activities may unwittingly exclude students based on class distinctions, and we recommend that the College take a closer, more critical look at subtler limitations of class during Senior Week.
Senior Week is a celebration and a positive symbol of our time at the College that is meant to be shared by all. Nobody should be excluded on the basis of financial divisions, and while we recognize that some of these issues are not as easily solvable as others, we commend CC and OSL for identifying a glaring deficiency in the former system and replacing it with a sensible and inclusive payment structure.