Spring Weekend revival aims for create a safe environment
The Spring Weekend Programming Committee held an information session for students, faculty and University of Connecticut organizations Thursday night to discuss this year's Spring Weekend policies, describe the new theme and explain how individual students and organizations can get involved.
Following the passing of Jafar Karzoun during Spring Weekend 2010, the university decided to put an end to what was formerly known as UConn's annual three-day-long party.
The Spring Weekend policies that were mandated in the years following Karzoun's death, including limited access to roads leading to campus, the banning of guests from residence halls and regulating guests in local off-campus apartment complexes, are being somewhat relieved after what Becca Herman, of UConn's Student Activities office, described as both a successful and calm Spring Weekend 2012.
During Spring Weekend 2013, organizations can have events and meetings as normal, as long as they go through the Union and university services; buildings and buses will be available to UConn students and will be operating "somewhat normally," according to Herman. One policy that is not budging, however, is the strict no guest policy.
No guests will be permitted to participate in any of the weekend's events, nor will they have access to dining or residence halls, according to Herman.
As far as restrictions for off campus housing during Spring Weekend, "property managers have the ability to make decisions on their own, we only talk to them about what they're planning to do. Many have discussed about doing some guest restriction, hiring state troopers, so they are discussing that now. But, at this point we're in the preliminary planning of all that," said John Armstrong, the director of Off-Campus Student Services.
Though Spring Weekend is making a comeback, it is not the same event it was in years past. This year, the Spring Weekend Programming Committee has introduced a new theme, "UConn Learns, UConn Serves, UConn Cares," and each night of the weekend will compliment that theme.
Thursday night will be "UConn Learns." The Programming Committee is encouraging professors to plan academic presentations for that night, and they are hoping to collaborate with the School of Fine Arts to put up displays. The Student Union Board of Governors is also planning on playing an outdoor movie once it gets dark, according to Elise Yonika of SUBOG and the Programming Committee.
Friday will be "UConn Serves," and the Undergraduate Student Government and Community Outreach will host the anchor events.
Community Outreach is in the process of planning three volunteer events for students to participate in throughout the day. They have joined UConn's Facilities Operations and have planned a variety of campus beautification projects for the morning, local outreach efforts, such as cleaning the yards of residents in areas close to campus who have been negatively affected by Spring Weekend activities in the past, and a series of kit-making stations on campus that night, according to Julie McGarry of Community Outreach.
Some of the kits include art kits for kids in hospitals and foster homes, as well as bagged dinners of non-perishables. To get involved in one of these projects, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday will also be Student Appreciation Day, which will include giveaways and a food truck in Fairfield Way, according to Johan Tajada, the USG event coordinator. "We want to say thank you, basically, if you are serving and following the rules of Spring Weekend," Tajada said.
SUBOG is also planning a food truck festival to take place Friday evening, which will tentatively include, a cupcake truck, a fried dough truck and a pizza truck, "to say thank you to students for a great day of service," Yonika said. WHUS will DJ the event.
Fresh Check Day, a day coordinated by the Jordan Matthew Porco foundation, which raises awareness to suicide prevention will also be held on Saturday. "Fresh Check Day is a big fun wellness fair with interactive elements," according to Leah Nelson, the outreach coordinator for the foundation.
Fresh Check Day is teaming up with UConn's Suicide Prevention Committee, ResLife, Active Minds, and other health and wellness oriented clubs and organizations to plan events and activities for the day.
"I think it's great that they're allowing students to have their freedom again in a constructive and positive way that will benefit the entire UConn community," said UConn student Alli Cohen.
Spring Weekend 2013 is April 25-27. To participate in any of the anchor events, contact the organizations directly to find out how to get involved.
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