Senior Nights are back at Elizabethtown College, but what does this mean for current senior students? The first difference for this year is the absence of bar trips. The program was cancelled once before “because some students acted irresponsibly, and the trips became a liability for the College,” according to Student Senate president Brian Frantz.
This year, in order to obviate such behavior, the program was adapted to include a “strike” system and to focus on the senior class bonding, rather than consuming alcohol. The strike system will revoke a senior’s bus privileges if they do not comply with the rules and expectations of the College. The upcoming trip to the Nov. 19 Hershey Bears game will be a chance for these new guidelines to prove their effectiveness.
As previously stated, the program is a revival, and it is not without thought toward improvement. Frantz and Dean of Students Marianne Calenda worked diligently to draft a proposal, which was then submitted to the College’s Senior Staff and approved for this academic year. Citing the change in direction of the program, Frantz stated, “I know that the events seem a lot different than what they were. But in order to get the events back, I had to give a lot to get a little.”
The current senior class will have to represent the College in the best manner for Senior Nights to continue here at Etown. Further, as stated by Frantz, this is an opportunity to boost the relationship between administration and students.
When asked if he could foresee any issues with the program now that it is reinstated, Frantz responded, “I don’t think there will be problems, but attendance could be low. The focus of planning the events is to provide a trip to a place in which Seniors can hang out and have a drink, but not to be focused solely on drinking.”
Most of the concern from Senate and from Frantz is focused on attendance at the events, now that they have returned. The absence of bar excursions could drive away the small percentage of seniors whose main concern is drinking and getting off campus to do so. But it can’t be expected that bar trips will be brought back, as this would cause the same problems which led to the cancellation of Senior Nights before this year.
Senior Jennifer Simpson commented, “As much as I hate saying it, I do think alcohol makes a difference. You would hope that people who are of age would be able to handle themselves, but unfortunately there will always be those people who mess it up for everyone.”
Nevertheless, Simpson is still interested in attending the Senior Nights, and perhaps even the Hershey Bears game, although she’s not a huge hockey fan. “I’m sure if I went with a lot of my senior friends, we would have fun,” she said. Simpson would also like to see a trip to a First Friday in Lancaster, or a baseball game during the season. If enough of the senior class thinks the way Simpson does, then perhaps lack of attendance won’t hinder the continuation of the Senior Nights at all.
The program has the potential to survive, but only if seniors comply with the College’s regulations and if they demonstrate enough interest. Then it may become another of our College’s many recurring events that comprise the Etown student experience.
Commenting on the subject of her interest in participating next year, current junior Laura Grube said, “It probably depends on if I know other people who are going. Just because it probably will be the same [as other years] despite where they go.”
When asked if she would be interested in events such as sports games, Grube remarked, “I’m not a sports fan.” Grube also noted that she thinks her peers can behave themselves, but “within every class there are people who, given the circumstances, can get a little out of hand.”