Students anticipating revelry before the November 22 Bowdoin-Colby hockey game were surprised to hear about the cancellation of the College-sponsored pep rally a day before the event was scheduled to happen.
Director of Student Life Allen Delong and Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) President Sarah Nelson ’14 sent the campus-wide email early Friday morning.
Delong said the sudden cancellation came after efforts to salvage the event.
“Students wanted this thing,” said Delong, “and we wanted to see if we could make it happen… but there was a point where we thought, maybe this isn’t the best game to try something new.”
The event had been planned for roughly three weeks in advance, primarily by Polar Bear Nation—a joint committee of BSG and Athletic Counsel members—in response to student desire for new pre-sporting event activities. The group has been working to build campus support for athletics and increase attendance at games.
The decision to cancel it did not come down to any one party but was the result of a combined decision of several groups involved in the planning process, according to Delong. He worked with the Student Activities Office to help organize the event from a policy-adherence standpoint.
At the November 20 BSG meeting, Athletic Council representative Doug Caplan '15 had outlined his hopes for the pep rally, urging students to show spirit by wearing black and to bring pots, pans and utensils as noisemakers. A cash bar was planned for students over 21 years old.
The Bowdoin-Colby hockey game is the best-attended sporting event of the year, and its success already requires a substantial effort from the Events Office. Delong said that adding another big event in tandem didn’t seem like a good idea after deliberations.
He added that staffing was also a concern, as most students who would have worked the rally wanted to attend the game as well.
“We didn’t want our first go at this to have mixed results,” said Delong.
Students expressed mixed feelings about the proposed pep rally.
“I have to say that going to the hockey game is about all I do in terms of sports events,” said Meena Dieterich ’15. “I was interested in the fact that there was a pep rally and interested in the fact that they then canceled it, but I don’t really understand the point of pep rallies. I feel like there’s enough spirit at the hockey game.”
Delong clarified that the cancellation does not set a precedent, stating that he thinks there will be another attempt at a similar rally in the future.
Nelson and Charlie Rollins ’14, the chair of Polar Bear Nation, both said they weren’t worried about the long-term impacts of the cancellation.
“The goal of Polar Bear Nation isn’t just to provide events,” said Rollins. “The long-term goal is to change the tradition around athletic events.”