Go to content, skip over navigation


More Pages

Go to content, skip over visible header bar
Home News Features Arts & Entertainment Sports OpinionAbout Contact Advertise

Note about Unsupported Devices:

You seem to be browsing on a screen size, browser, or device that this website cannot support. Some things might look and act a little weird.

Do Bowdoin parties suck?

February 16, 2024

This piece represents the opinion of the Bowdoin Orient Editorial Board.

We’ve all heard it before, and actually, we’ve written about it before—the classic upperclassmen gripes about the lack of excitement, fun and good parties on campus and the groaning and moaning on Friday and Saturday afternoons about whether or not to go out that night.

In previous years, these complaints tended to have a nostalgic quality to them. Juniors and seniors would allude to “the good old days” before Covid-19, when the campus was more lively, the parties were rowdier and the beer flowed like wine.

This year, only a few students who experienced Bowdoin before Covid remain, and the impact of the pandemic on campus life is fading into the rearview mirror. That excuse is starting to lose its steam. So what’s going on?

On one level, we, the students, need to take responsibility for our own complacency. Many parties follow the same basic formula—pick a costume, pick a College House basement (or maybe a Harps apartment) and play some music in a dark room. Rinse and repeat.

Unsurprisingly, parties are often painfully short-lived. Some last as little as 30 minutes, with attendees becoming quickly discouraged at the paltry attendance. Everyone seems to choose one party to flock to on any given night—leaving most of them empty and packing one basement so full that the walls sweat, fire alarms go off and there’s no room to dance.

We can be more creative.

In the last few years, there are a few examples of students who have tried to break away from the formulaic Bowdoin party and inject some new life into the social scene on campus. A series of “raves” last spring aimed to emulate Berlin nightlife with techno music and nudity. Student bands playing at WBOR, College Houses and local venues have drawn large crowds. But these are exceptions to the norm.

While it is inherently on students to get more creative with parties, the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Residential Life certainly aren’t helping. College Houses must register parties by Wednesday afternoon and provide E-hosts and A-hosts. This forces College Houses to start talking about a party a week in advance.

There is no room for spontaneity or impromptu parties. If it’s a surprisingly nice day out, no one can decide to host an event in their backyard. If a house decides on a Saturday morning to have a party, they have to wait until the next week. If a sports team wins a big game and wants to celebrate, they have to do it off campus.

And over the past few years, the number of upperclassmen allowed to live off campus has decreased by 25 percent. With fewer off campus houses offering smaller, more eclectic parties, there are fewer alternatives to the sweaty College House basement. The uncreative, overcrowded mixer reigns supreme.

When we call for the current system to be more conducive towards fun weekends, we are not asking to make parties unregulated or out of the reach of Security. In fact, a College House basement isn’t necessarily the safest place to have a party. Social houses rarely provide alcohol, which often results in students drinking quickly and irresponsibly before they go out.

The College administration has become increasingly heavy-handed in their control of social life on and off campus. They’ve created a space where students don’t feel comfortable bringing a drink to a party. The administration took a much bigger role in planning Ivies after the pandemic, and now there’s little institutional memory as to what Bowdoin social life looked like before Covid.

Forging a healthy social scene on campus should not feel like such a chore.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, which is composed of Miles Berry, Kristen Kinzler, Andy Robinson, Lucy Watson, Sam Pausman and Juliana Vandermark.




Before submitting a comment, please review our comment policy. Some key points from the policy:

  • No hate speech, profanity, disrespectful or threatening comments.
  • No personal attacks on reporters.
  • Comments must be under 200 words.
  • You are strongly encouraged to use a real name or identifier ("Class of '92").
  • Any comments made with an email address that does not belong to you will get removed.

Leave a Reply

Any comments that do not follow the policy will not be published.

0/200 words