This is an attempt on my part to impart jaded wisdom on Yale freshmen. And here it is: If you’re going to drink on the day of Spring Fling, wait until two.
I know, kegs and eggs is a sacred tradition and breakfast goes better with mimosas. But this isn’t the same as Harvard-Yale. Yes, I got up at seven to tailgate, but I also took a four-hour nap after The Game was over. Spring Fling lasts until 10 p.m. It’s generally thought of as a daytime concert, but the professional acts don’t start until 6 p.m. and the headliner — for the first time ever — doesn’t even come on until 9 p.m.
If you start drinking too early, you will not make it to the main acts. It won’t matter how pumped you were for Chance the Rapper if you missed his set because your 15-minute power nap became two hours long. Weigh your options: Would you really rather drink at 10 a.m. than see live some of the most talented and up-and-coming performers, lyricists and DJs in the music industry today?
Yale spends a lot of money on Spring Fling (not as much as I wish it would, but the News has already let me grace its pages with my thoughts on that topic). It spends it because Spring Fling is a uniquely Yale experience. At few other points in your life will you get to attend a free concert with well-known artists — as well as student bands and DJs — on a college quad with a beer tent, food trucks and (weather permitting) an inflatable slide. It’s a communal concert too, where you get to see everyone from your closest friends to your residential college FroCo to that-kid-you-met-during-orientation-that-you-thought-would-be-your-best-friend-but-now-when-you-see-him-you-just-say-let’s-get-a-meal-and-hug-awkwardly.
You can drink any day of the week, at any time, in college. There is no shortage of opportunities for it if that’s how you plan to spend your time at Yale. In fact, there is a day devoted to it and it’s called DKE Tang and it’s the day after Spring Fling. So the opportunity is there.
There are also a number of incredibly talented student bands worth watching on Old Campus. While most Elis have been to at least one Yale sporting event, far fewer have seen a live show featuring a Yale student band. These events — like shows at 216 Dwight St. and Kelly’s — often fly under the radar. This is arguably the biggest show that Yale student bands will play in their time here, and for Yalies to show up to support them rather than stay in their dorms to shotgun an extra couple beers makes a huge difference to the bands and the campus community.
There are also other opportunities to support your peers on the day of Spring Fling. Andrew Sobotka ’15, the head of the Whaling Crew, and I have lamented how difficult it is to get students away from the ingrained tradition of pregaming at fraternities and to other venues, particularly at athletics games. We both thought one way to effectively do this would be to have half of the buses leave from High St. However, this never gained traction with the administration and so exclusive departure from Payne Whitney Gym continues to be a reality. Instead of pounding shots in the Sig Nu basement, groups of students could travel out to the fields, where they would enjoy a high-spirited atmosphere, a leisurely tailgate and an opportunity to see their friends in action — friends who already sacrifice drinking in service to Yale and its athletics program.
I and my fellow Spring Fling Committee members have worked all year to present what we hope is one of the best concerts you’ll go to, and one that you’ll remember for years to come. It’s honestly been our pleasure putting together this concert, but it stills pains us to hear about students who waste the day with their head over a toilet.
Thus, my proposition: Sleep in, go to athletics games, write that essay you’ll be too hungover to write later. Then drink. Drink slowly and drink at the beer garden. Watch the student bands, dance to the openers and save your energy for Diplo’s set — you won’t regret it if you just wait ’til two.
Erica Leh is a junior in Morse College and the Chair of the Spring Fling Committee. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .