Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Genderfuck is on.
In a follow-up meeting on Tuesday, Genderfuck Party Planners met with administrators and student representatives from a variety of campus groups to flesh out the details of putting on a successful party this year.
At the end of the meeting Associate Dean for Student Life Myrt Westphal and Coordinator of Student Activities Paury Flowers said it was exactly what they wanted to see come of the meeting.
“I think you have really grasped what needed to be done, and you’re doing it,” said Westphal.
Genderfuck Party Planner Callie Feingold ’12 opened the meeting by asking representatives from each group to talk about the biggest problems they’ve faced in the past and how they think those problems could be avoided this year.
Party Associate (PA) Ben Kapilow ’13 was not able to speak from personal experience about last year’s Genderfuck but said he has heard from other PAs that it was really difficult for them to attend to their normal duties while being forced to take on others such as cleaning up and breaking up fights. Because of the size of the party, Kapilow said PAs were forced to prioritize some problems over others, such as addressing a fight before helping a sick student.
Another issue the PAs faced was issuing tickets to the party. According to Flowers, PAs want to avoid handing out wristbands at the party because it creates a bottleneck. Genderfuck planner Kenneson Chen ’14 proposed setting up a table in Sharples, like at Halloween, as well as sending a representative to the queer groups in the Bi-Co to hand out wristbands.
To address the issue of party goers who chose to wear more revealing outfits having to enter and leave the party in uncovered, Feingold suggested also having a coat check in Sharples, an idea she said she picked up from a friend at another liberal arts college. Chen said this would also give a sense of order to how people enter the party.
While the exact floor plan of the party is yet to be determined, Genderfuck committee members said they plan on creating a designated dry space. This room would be attended to by a sober volunteer who would be able to help students should they be upset, sick, or just feel they need to be in a safe place away from alcohol.
The group also discussed making t-shirts or sashes to make sober volunteers visibly recognizable to party goers. Flowers also suggested having a dinner meeting the night before the party to regroup on logistics.
Social Affairs Committee (SAC) Chair Angela Meng ’12 said these were all great ideas, but were all based on the assumption of having a lot of manpower. She said it’s been difficult in the past to recruit sober students to work at the event. Most PAs need an extra incentive at large scale parties she said, usually through higher pay.
“I’d like to believe that there are a lot of students who want to help make GenderF safe, make sure everyone is okay, but at the same time people want to have fun, and I’m not sure there are going to be enough people,” said Meng.
MC Mazzocchi ’12 said that was a valid concern, and it is one that needs to be addressed at parties across campus.
“It’s a matter of taking ownership of the party,” Mazzocchi said. “We need to make a point that if we are going to have these large scale parties and if the wider conversation of party culture on this campus is going to shift in meaningful ways then people are going to have to stand up and say we’re going to pitch in.”
The party planners reached out to Matt Lamb ’12 and Joe Maiorana ’12, representatives from the two fraternities Delta Upsilon and Phi Psi, respectively. Both said they would be able to give sober brothers to help monitor the party, escort students to their dorm rooms, and help out in other ways. Ensign said NYS, as a group that will host parties in the future, would also be willing to send volunteers to help.
Mazzocchi suggested having PAs and members from the Drug and Alcohol Resource Team (DART) and the Sexual Misconduct Advisors and Resource Team (SMART) to train the fraternity brothers as well as students who volunteer to work at the party. Since PAs usually work in pairs, a volunteer would be able to be paired up with a trained PA to address issues at the party. Feingold said she saw a student being verbally assaulted at last year’s Genderfuck and that it took too long for a PA to respond. Having more pairs of sober students would help prevent similar altercations from escalating this year.
In addition, Lamb, as a DART member, said the group would be able to bring water bottles as well as hang posters with safe drinking information before the party.
In the lead-up to the party Mazzocchi said they would like to host fire side chats to discuss the idea of Genderfuck and gender as well as the party culture on campus. StuCo Co-President Gabby Capone ’14 said StuCo would be willing to support these conversations.
Westphal complimented the group on how well they were able to grasp and tackle the issues at hand.
“You’re going to make me cry,” Feingold said.
The exact date of Genderfuck is yet to be nailed down, but planners say they anticipate having it at the beginning of April.
The Gendefuck Party Planners will continue to hold meetings with groups from around campus leading up to the event to plan details and recruit students to help at the event. Anyone interested in helping with Genderfuck (or who has a good idea for a new slogan) is asked to contact a member of the planning committee: MC Mazzocchi (email@example.com), Kenneson Chen (firstname.lastname@example.org), Tania Doles (email@example.com), or Callie Feingold (firstname.lastname@example.org).