This weekend, two of the college’s largest annual events, the Large Scale Event and Worthstock, will take place.
The two events have aroused speculation about potential changes to each event, including to alcohol policies. “Based on the size, scope and venue for the LSE, in consultation with student activities, the Dean’s Office and other college staff, we decided to hire additional event staff,” Director of Public Safety Mike Hill said. “This decision was largely based on the fact that this is an outdoor venue, which requires extra planning and security to ensure the event is safe for our community members..”
Hill, however, refused to say who the college would be hiring.
Mike Elias, the students activities coordinator, stressed that the college was trying to promote a safe space.
“The LSE is a community event and it is important that the committee considers the impact of the event on all of our campus constituents,” he said. “To help create a safe environment, we are also providing event fencing, hiring an EMS to be stationed on-campus, having adequate amounts of lighting on Sci Quad, walks provided by SwatTeam, having water available for guests, etc.”
Elias also declined to say who the college is bringing in to help staff the weekend events.
But Emma Sipperly ’14 wondered if using a security company will help achieve this safety.
“I think it makes sense, because it is such a busy weekend, but I wonder if this security company has the same idea of safe space as our student body does and how they will help provide it,” she said. “I think everyone’s main priority is keeping our party integrity at LSE. Hopefully the private company, who is not familiar with the campus or the student body, will encourage safe partying and not hinder it.”
Aziz Anderson ’17, one of the four students on the LSE committee, said the committee did not have any input on the decision to hire extra security. It is, however, involved in security decisions regarding Worthstock.
Christopher Fortunato ’14, another committee member, mentioned that Hill is concerned about underage drinking at Worthstock, an event that has allowed public drinking in past years.
“At a recent meeting between Mike Hill and the LSE committee, Mike Hill expressed concerns about underage drinking at Worthstock and the liability that entails,” he said. “The committee is interested in finding a solution that keeps both the students and the college happy. LSE, on the other hand, has usually been, and will continue to be, a dry event.
Fortunato said he did not yet know what stance Public Safety would be taking. Hill and Elias declined to comment on the topic.
Some students do not think this potential regulation will affect the amount of students’ drinking.
“I have heard some people mention that they plan to spend more time at Margaritaville or drink inside of Worth and Willets where their friends live, because they do not want to deal with the repercussions of drinking in Worth Courtyard,” Tally Erickson ’15 said. “I don’t think the policy will have that much of an effect on whether or not people will drink, but it will affect how they go about it. Overall, I think students who are aware of the Worthstock drinking policy changes are disappointed, because it alters the nature of an event many students cherish, especially as an end-of-the-year celebration.”
Erickson also discussed the lack of communication between the college and the students about this weekend.
“I think the overarching concern students have as it pertains to the upcoming weekend is how hiring an outside security company and implementing these changes will impact students who are unaware of the rules or do not follow them,” she said. “Many students have heard about the possibility of these changes, but have not heard anything official from the college, leaving students to wonder how strict these policies will be and what kind of punishments might be imposed if a student drinks publicly outside of Worth or gets in trouble at LSE.”
Either way, Worthstock will still have its traditional variety of musical acts.
This year’s Worthstock lineup will be as follows: Dirty Mike and the Boys, the Battle of the Bands winner and student opener; Grumby, a “chill electronica” duo from NYC; Boxed Wine, self-described as an “indie party pop band from New Jersey;” Cruiser, “chill rock” from Philadelphia; Brown Rice Family, a band that previously played at Swarthmore before and was interested in returning. Madmen, a local band from Carlisle, PA may also play.
Yuichi Iida, the drummer of Brown Rice Family, said he hopes students participate in the show by dancing and singing along. The band is multi-national, with members from Japan, Jamaica, Haiti, Nigeria, South Africa and the USA and focuses on global solidarity and organic happiness.
“We will bring our stylish earth-friendly clothing, handmade organic soap and CD,” Iida said. “Don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes.”
Boxed Wine vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chris Nova agreed that he hopes students will be willing to dance along.
“Swarthmore can expect some catchy songs to be played by a band who’ll be exhausted waking up so early that morning to get there in time, but who are likely to give as much as they get from the audience,” he said.
Tyler Zon ’16, a member of Dirty Mike and the Boys, said playing at Worthstock has been a long-term goal for the band. He expressed that the band wishes more student performers had the chance to play at the event.
“Worthstock is more of a Swarthmore thing, so we think more bands from Swat should be involved,” he said. “We were all at Worthstock last year, so we know it’s about celebrating the end of the year and having a good time.”
Fortunato expressed excitement about the lineup, as well as about the amount of money spent on the event.
“I’m pleased with how much production we’re keeping in-house,” Fortunato said. “This year, we’re on track to save thousands of dollars by making use of Swaudio and Tarble Tech.”
He did not know what this saved money will be used for, however.