For the first time, Yale is sponsoring a party to bring Harvard and Yale students together before The Game.
The Dance Party with Pance Party, a free Yale-Harvard event organized by the Yale College Council, Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry and Yale College Dean Mary Miller, will be the capstone of the Yale-Harvard Week. It is the first Yale-sponsored Yale-Harvard party, and organizers said they hope the event — along with the Spirit Days leading up to it and a pep rally Thursday — will both promote The Game and help raise the profile of Yale athletics on campus.
The dry event gets its name from the San Francisco-based DJ Pance Party, who will provide the music. All current Yale students and Harvard students are invited.
According to YCC Events Director Mathilde Williams ’11, Miller and Gentry had been thinking about putting together this event for a long time but only asked YCC to be involved two weeks ago.
“I believe it’s because in past years, there hasn’t been a place for a lot of people to go on that Friday,” Williams said. “They want to provide an environment that’s fun and that doesn’t necessarily have alcohol.”
Gentry said in an e-mail that he only suggested the party this year because he did not know it was a possibility in previous years.
“There have been Friday parties in the past before the Yale-Harvard game, so I thought students would enjoy coming to a party,” he said. “When Harvard came to Yale in 2007, this was my first year, and I wasn’t aware that planning a Friday party was possible.”
Avinash Gandhi ’10, who manages bands and is a DJ, said he suggested Pance Party to the YCC and then acted as the group’s agent for the deal, negotiating the offer with the Dean’s Office.
The event has been mainly publicized through Facebook, Williams said.
“Come show off your moves, check out one of the hottest new producer groups around, and see if you can’t get lucky with a Blue or Crimson hottie on the dance floor!” reads the description of the event.
The dance party comes as the last of a series of events that make up YCC Spirit Days, which ask students to dress each day according to a different theme, ranging from “Old Yale” on Monday to anti-Harvard today.
The other central event this week, YCC President Jon Wu ’11 said, is Thursday’s pep rally on Old Campus at 9 p.m. At the 90-minute event, a video by Bulldog Productions will be screened and emcees Matthew George ’11, Will Stephen ’11 and Ethan Kuperberg ’11, members of improv group Just Add Water, will present the varsity sports captains. The Yale Precision Marching Band and cheerleaders will perform, and varsity football coach Tom Williams and captain Paul Rice ’10 will speak.
“The football team has a surprise for us,” Williams added.
Williams, who worked on the YCC project group that planned this event, said that YCC came up with the idea for Spirit Days and the pep rally earlier this year.
“When we do new events, we think of things that can become traditions,” she said.
Williams said the pep rally , which was funded by the YCC, is intended to recognize students athletes and mend what she sees as the disconnect between the undergraduate body and athletics. She said that she hopes at least 1,000 people will attend, but declined to say how much the event costs.
Wu said the pep rally will help increase the profile of athletics at Yale.
“It’s something that has never been done before,” he said. “It’s a great way to really make sports, not only academics, a priority at Yale.”
When asked whether they would attend the dance party or the pep rally, six of the eight students interviewed said they did not know the details of the events. All eight said they will probably attend the Pep Rally. And told that the dance is free, all said they liked the idea.
“I’m definitely a fan of the fact that it’s free,” Kat Oshman ’13 said.
But two seniors said the desire to attend the dance and meet new students is specific to freshmen.
“It’s this desire to be at places with many more people when you’re a freshman,” Naima Sykes ’10 said.
Megnaa Mehtta ’10 said upperclassmen generally spend their Harvard-Yale weekends in smaller groups, at friends’ houses or suites.
Another student, Julian De Freitas ’13, said he thinks it is difficult to predict which events students will attend.
“Most people don’t plan things three days ahead,” De Freitas said. “They just go places without worrying about it beforehand.”
The Dance Party with Pance Party will take place Friday night in Commons from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.