Last week it was announced to the senior class that 100 Nights, an event that had previously brought seniors together to celebrate their time at the University, would be canceled due to problems stemming from excessive drinking and vandalism in previous years. The Office of Alumni Relations and the Career Development Center, which had hosted the event along with a student planning committee, are planning to replace it with a new event that will “provide [seniors] with a setting to enjoy each other’s company and reconnect with … first year hallmates as well as reinforce the mission of why we are all here: to educate and prepare you for a lifetime of discovery, fulfillment, critical thinking and imagination,” according to an e-mail sent to seniors.

Despite the plans for the creation of a new tradition, many students are disappointed about the discontinuation of 100 Nights. This was an event that students had looked forward to for a long time, and excitement was building as it approached. It is understandable that students are upset about its abrupt cancellation.

The problems that led to the cancellation of the event are not surprising. Widespread alcohol consumption, often to levels that can be described as “excessive,” takes place every weekend at the University. Removing or re-shaping a popular event will not eliminate irresponsible behavior from unruly seniors that night. If anything, events such as 100 Nights protect students by encouraging them to consume alcohol in a controlled environment. Even in the case of vandalism, the fairness of punishing current students for the failures of past classes is questionable. There should certainly be repercussions for students who act inappropriately, but the actions of a few should not be allowed to ruin the experiences of future students. Compared to other large-scale spring semester events like House Party Weekend, 100 Nights seems tame.

It is clear that 100 Nights was intended to be much more than just a giant party with a nostalgia theme, but many students did not seem to realize this. Few students knew that the event was organized by Alumni Relations and the CDC; many assumed that it was an official University tradition such as First Night and Orientation, except with alcohol. There seems to have been a widespread misunderstanding among students about what the event was intended to accomplish. Many students envisioned it as a drunken celebration, while the planning committee evidently wanted it to be a reflective and thoughtful experience.

The change to a new event is certainly the product of good intentions, and the planning committee has expressed every desire to create a new tradition that will be even better than 100 Nights. Still, in order to be successful, the new tradition cannot merely encourage seniors to “reflect,” “think” and “prepare.” It must also allow them to celebrate and have fun. The organizers of the event should not scale back the celebration aspect just because they fear a few participants might become too rowdy.

Students should give the new event a fair chance and realize that they can still have fun and bond together without the presence of alcohol. They need to take the the event’s thought-provoking intentions seriously or it will simply meet the same fate as 100 Nights in a few years.

This could be the start of a memorable new tradition at the University. An event created in a framework that integrates both thoughtful reflection and celebration potentially will have a much more powerful impact upon the graduating senior class than 100 Nights did in the past.

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