Despite early concerns about rain and the administration’s ongoing evaluation of its alcohol policy, Spring Fling planners said they expect a smooth day of events and a larger turnout than in years past.
This year’s Spring Fling is a departure from last year in that the main performances will take place at night and the day’s festivities are not focused around only one event.
Yale College Council officers said they expect a much higher turnout because of the variety and popularity of the selected performers — The Shins, O.A.R. and Rahzel. Although YCC President Andrew Cedar ’06 said he was unwilling to give an estimate of how many people he expects to attend Spring Fling, he said he believes many more graduate and professional students in particular will come out.
“This year because it’s at night and we’ve got good bands, grad students have been really excited about it, and I think we are going to have a higher grad student turnout,” he said.
Although the University’s alcohol policy has been under increased scrutiny since this year’s Yale-Harvard football game in Cambridge, the alcohol regulations for Spring Fling will not be different from past years, YCC Treasurer Andrew Schram ’06 said.
“This year we are taking the same precautions as we have in years past regarding alcohol,” he said. “Nothing is changing.”
Old Campus will be sealed off except for the two main gates at College and High streets beginning at 2:30 p.m., and no backpacks will be allowed in after that time, Spring Fling coordinator Lauren Ezell ’07 said.
“The official policy is that there is no alcohol allowed into Old Campus [and] there will be security there to enforce it,” she said.
The ongoing reexamination of Yale’s alcohol policy this year may affect the administration’s overall approach rather than specific policies, YCC Vice President Chance Carlisle ’05 said.
“There may be a broader awareness of [alcohol-related safety issues] because of increased talk about alcohol abuse,” he said. “There will be a more concerted effort to make sure that students actually stay safe without actually impeding the event.”
Spring Fling will officially begin Tuesday at 3 p.m. on Old Campus with a contest to select the next Handsome Dan sponsored by the Yale Athletics Department. Ten bulldog finalists will compete in a series of events, including a strut around Old Campus, an activity with the Yale Precision Marching Band and interaction with children and students. The competition will be judged by former mascot caretaker Chris Getman ’64, Director of Sports Publicity Steve Conn, cheerleader Christie Yang ’06, football captain elect Jeff Mroz ’06 and band member Constantine Lapaseotes ’08.
After Handsome Dan XVI is named, the winners of last Friday’s “Battle of the Bands” competition hosted by WYBC will perform at 4 p.m.
The main event will begin at 5:15 p.m. when Rahzel, a beatboxer and member of The Roots, will take the stage, followed by The Shins and closing with O.A.R. The concert is expected to last until approximately 9:30 p.m., but may last longer, Schram said.
Carlisle said he is proud of the work the YCC has done this year and events on par with this year’s Spring Fling should become the standard because of the new student activities fee, which was approved by an undergraduate vote in January.
“This year we have a fantastic lineup, [and] I think it’s without rival throughout the Ivy League,” he said. “It’s something that we should be thankful for but also now come to expect with the student activities fee.”
Although forecasts last week predicted rain for Spring Fling, there is a zero percent chance of precipitation for Tuesday, according to The Weather Channel’s Web site, which reported that tomorrow will be mostly sunny, and the temperature will reach a high of 62 degrees.
Although event planners are no longer concerned about rain, in the unlikely event of severe weather, the show will have to be cancelled because Yale does not have an indoor concert venue large enough to hold Spring Fling and because it is impossible to reschedule the concert due to the bands’ busy schedules, Cedar said.
“If it rains, hopefully as long as there is no lightning, [the bands] will play, but if not, that’s it,” he said.
In addition to the musical events, Yale Dining Services will be holding a cook-out from 3 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Old Campus tomorrow. Campus dining halls will be closed on Tuesday for dinner, with the exception of Calhoun and Commons, which will be serving dinner at their usual hours, Ezell said.
While every Yale student and faculty member is allowed to bring a guest, security at the event will be tight in order to keep out unwanted visitors, Carlisle said.
“It’s a Yale College event, so we’ve always been inclusive of other students who are friends of Yale students,” he said. “However, there will be officers to make sure people who are not affiliated with Yale stay out.”