Sprind Weekend Needs More Unity
This past weekend, several campus groups sponsored events for Spring Weekend. Unlike past years, there was a genuine push to sell several events under the one broad heading of Spring Weekend. Many advertisements included the whole spectrum of events, ranging from the International Fair to the Alpha Phi Omega Spring Carnival to Alpha Phi's Alpha Phlea Market. The effort by Spring Weekend organizers to create an event that appeals to the whole MIT community deserves a good deal of praise and applause.
However, Spring Weekend fell short of being an event for all students. While many student activities and living groups held events, there was no unifying thread linking the different events. Most people attended Spring Weekend only for a single event. Many students who went to the Phlea Market went only for the Phlea Market; students who went to Mr. Spring Weekend went for Mr. Spring Weekend. While the individual activities may have done well by themselves, Spring Weekend unfortunately was not a draw in itself.
The APO Spring Carnival could have served to bring different circles of students to come to Spring Weekend. Booths at the carnival were offered to student activities and living groups, but in the end, only three groups participated. Certainly, booths by different student groups would have contributed to a more festive, carnival-type atmosphere than some of the events offered. The Velcro wall and the bungee run both were more popular with Cambridge area elementary schoolers than with MITstudents.
Other factors could have improved turnout. Spring Weekend was hurt by the absence of a big-name band playing in the Spring Concert. In previous years, the concerts have had attendances of over 1,000. This dwarfs the small crowd present at the Battle of the Bands Final this year. Even offering food at events would have made a big difference in attendance, and it may be just one reason why the International Fair outdrew the carnival. Other planned events, like "Dunk-A-Dean" and the presentation of the Big Screw, never happened.
Rarely does MIT see an attempt at an activity designed to raise school spirit. Living groups have their own parties, but those parties usually target specific groups of people and are not intended to improve the overall level of student life. And when there is an effort, it often fails, like last year's Undergraduate Association Field Day, which succeeded only in distributing free submarine sandwiches. These undertakings all too often disappear after one try.
This year's Spring Weekend has started the move toward becoming a big social event for all MITstudents. And although Spring Weekend may not have succeeded in doing so this year, there is no doubt that if organizers continue this effort, interest and participation will improve. We hope that all the groups involved this year will be back next year with the same enthusiasm to produce a Spring Weekend that will draw more interest.