Excited students rushed across Ransom Lawn Friday evening to greet preformers Rubblebucket and Chiddy Bang at the stage. Attendees hoisted each other up onto one another’s shoulders, and safety officers stormed into the mass of students to calm them down. It was not long before another Summer Sendoff was in full swing.
Some students felt Sendoff wasn’t quite the same as it had been in years past.
“This year, there was less people outside, and more people inside, making things like punch, drinking higher proof alcohol,” Alexander Nethercutt ’16 said, referring to students on South Quad. “You know, consuming stuff that was less safe than if [the College] had just done the same thing they did last year.”
Students, administrators and staff discussed the possible results of policy changes prior to this year’s Sendoff concert. New measures included a College-mandated system of purchasing alcohol for students over 21 from a third-party vendor and the decision to take away the “playpen,” a designated outdoor drinking area for students on South Quad. Last Friday, students still drank on South Quad without the playpen, though Safety officers were present, breaking up large groups of students and verifying the ages of those who were drinking.
Three students were hospitalized over the weekend due to intoxication, according Campus Safety. Laura Kane, director of students affairs, said it is not uncommon for students to be transported to the hospital for alcohol-related issues any weekend on campus, let alone on Sendoff.
Though no hospitalizations were recorded last year, Kane said alcohol-related issues during Sendoff this year were typical of an average Friday on campus. The College also allowed groups to register all-campus parties after the concert — another departure from previous years.
Kane said the new system regarding alcohol, which allowed students to buy a maximum of five beers through the vendor, was intended to keep students safe and promote safe drinking in accordance with Ohio State law.
“You always have students making choices, so that’s something that’s a reality in whatever way Sendoff is structured,” Kane said. “What we’re able to say as a college is that we’re providing an event that provides safe parameters and guidelines around drinking.”
Kane also said Campus Safety provided extra staffing over the weekend to help monitor “Extendoff,” a popular campus term for partying on the Saturday after the concert.
Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper was not available to comment.
Daniel Jurgens ’16, thought the new Sendoff policies took away from the experience.
“You know, I think a big part of Sendoff is having those big communal areas and events and to host and students can kind of wander around and go to different places within that area,” Jurgens said. “But not having that area, it seemed like the campus was a lot more lifeless.”
Kimberly Blank, associate director of student engagement, along with Kane, plans to send a survey to the students asking them to rate their Sendoff experience. Both said they want to get an idea of the students’ perspectives so they can improve the concert next year.
Kane said that if they receive negative feedback about the new alcohol policy, they will have a conversation about the issue, but she wasn’t sure if the administration would consider changing the policy. She said the policy emerged after the College looked at data nationwide about safe and responsible drinking on College campuses, which typically suggested one drink per hour.
Rob Mallen West ’17 felt the event was still highly regulated, and felt the students were mature enough to handle themselves appropriately.
“I thought it was kind of dumb how they tried to keep us in groups of twelve or less,” West said. “I think it contracts a sense of campus unity.”