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Students react to reformed Ivies weekend

May 6, 2022

Alex Spear
LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: Bowdoin students happily congregate on the Main Quad for Ivies weekend. Students reflect on changes to the tradition made by administration and compare pre-pandemic Ivies to current registered events.

This past weekend marked the first Ivies weekend at the College following two years of pandemic-related restrictions. Students came together for two Bowdoin-sponsored events as part of the weekend: Harpswell Quad Day on Friday and a Main Quad celebration on Saturday. While some students enjoyed the weekend and the chance to connect to their classmates, others felt the negative impacts of the College’s decision to change the traditional flow of the weekend.

Students responded in frustration to changes made to Ivies by the College— especially regarding the amount of administrative involvement in Ivies event planning.

“I feel like the College [changing] these events only further separated people because of people not wanting to participate in Ivies [on campus],” Francisco Adame Perez ’24 said. “There needs to be more of a conversation around how we can make it more inclusive for the whole campus community.”

Kevin Fleshman ’23 agreed and pointed to the overbearing administrative presence as having put a damper on the weekend.

“The administration had too much of a presence,” Fleshman said. “I think this is the weekend when we really only get to let loose and have fun. I feel like [Security and the Brunswick Police Department (BPD)] being very strict was not fair.”

Perez echoed Fleshman’s sentiments about the BPD, specifically commenting on the presence of undercover police officers near registered Ivies events.

“The fact that police were undercover—not wearing their uniforms—is kind of scary, especially to students,” Perez said. “So I think there needs to be more of a conversation around how [the] BPD is involved—whether or not they should even be involved in Ivies—because this is a college event.”

Despite these feelings of discontent, a number of students were overall very pleased with their Ivies experiences. For many students, the selling point of Ivies is being able to forge new connections and interact with people from a variety of social circles.

“I made so many new friends,” Emily Fuller ’22 said. “I danced a ton, and I just enjoyed seeing everyone out and about. I found bags of glitter on the ground at Reed Champagne Brunch and then put them in my Bowdoin fanny pack and then gave people glitter all day. I really enjoyed that.”

Others echoed this statement, explaining that the inclusivity of Ivies allowed for friends from across campus to come together in a space meant for everyone.

“I definitely met a few new people,” Brendan Deppen ’25 said. “I wouldn’t say a ton, but it was nice to hang out with a lot of people who I’m friends with but wouldn’t necessarily go to a party with.”

For other students—particularly student-athletes—Ivies was a valuable opportunity to relax. Jotham Casey ’25, a member of the football team, felt that Ivies allowed him to socialize with his teammates in a way that is usually restricted by the rigors of his athletic schedule.

“We don’t really get a lot of opportunities to do stuff like [Ivies], so having a whole day to ourselves to just relax and destress was great,” Casey said.

Student performers also reported high levels of warmth and engagement from Saturday’s crowd on the Main Quad. Mia Schwartz ’25, a member of the student band BEYONCE, remarked on the joy performers and attendees felt.

“[We had] a great crowd. They seemed pretty excited to see us,” Schwartz said. “I think that the music we play is really well-suited to dancing and having engagement.”

Students who were on campus prior to pandemic-related restrictions were able to compare this year’s Ivies to those in normal years. . Elliot Ketchel ’21 attended two Ivies before this one and shared his perspective.

“I really enjoyed the lowkey student bands and stuff [because] I’ve always been disappointed by the headline acts at Ivies. The Saturday concert in the past always felt really, really overhyped and underwhelming,” he said.

Although Ketchel enjoyed Saturday’s events, he felt that the College’s decision to replace Brunswick Quad festivities with an event on Harpswell Quad yielded a disappointing turnout.

“I thought that Harps[well] Quad was less fun than Brunswick Quad,” he said. “Harps[well] Quad felt less enclosed, but a smaller place at the same time.”

Aura Carlson and Sam Pausman contributed to this report.

Editors’ Note Saturday, May 7 at 1:43pm: An earlier version of this article implied that undercover police officers attended registered ivies events. This was not the case. Undercover police officers were nearby registered ivies events issuing warnings and a citation.


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  1. Lester P. '00 says:

    I sit here gobsmacked by what Bowdoin has become – a Disney-fied nanny state with undercover police attending college-sanctioned parties? Have I taken those crazy pills that we used to take at Ivies in my day?

    Bowdoin students, hear me when I say that this administration has failed you. Years of spending millions of YOUR tuition dollars on departments and initiatives aimed at “teaching” you how to treat others. Yet after all those trainings you were required to attend, all of those expectations you’ve lived up to – you still can’t be trusted to blow off some steam without acting like a bunch of drunken sailors on shore leave? Marauders of the night? How incompetent must they be at their jobs if you still can’t be trusted?

    Bowdoin students – throw off the yoke of this administration and fight for your right to party. Be kids – get drunk and make some mistakes. That’s a fundamental part of the college experience that also prepares you for life as an adult. Go wild – streak the quad!

    In the words of Archibald Bulloch, “This is no time to talk of moderation; in the present instance it ceases to be a virtue.”

  2. John C. ‘10 says:

    I would have loved to see some more info (or a link to a prior article) on the changes briefly referenced. Based on prior interference, I’m assuming the changes were not ideal and probably unnecessary, but without a actual recounting of what they did, it’s hard to make that judgement.

  3. Melissa says:

    Can you clarify if Bowdoin asked for Brunswick PD presence at the events? Important distinction if there was just increased BPD presence off campus or if they were invited onto campus.

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