Students who have been celebrating Ivies since midweek will likely look back on the experience with the same fondness as students before them, even if the tradition has evolved into something more extreme than it used to be.
Though the components of Ivies have primarily remained the same, students in recent years have expanded the tradition from the weekend to include the week as well.
Director of Residential Life Kim Pacelli said that when she was a student, Ivies Weekend actually appeared on the Bowdoin calendar. What did not appear, however, was the rampant enthusiasm and excitement that students now have in the weeks leading up to the events.
In addition to being surprised by the level of excitement, Pacelli said she is surprised by the frustration from students who worry that their work will interfere with Ivies.
"I couldn't even envision when I was a student the consternation I see students having about work being due on Monday or Tuesday of next week," said Pacelli.
In addition to students worrying about work that is due after the weekend, Pacelli said that she often sees those students stressed out in the days before as well.
"In past years, I often find that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, students get really stressed out, trying to cram a week's worth of work into two days," she said.
According to Pacelli, Ivies during her time at Bowdoin was anticipated, but not a reason for excess hype or stress.
"In the past five or six years, Ivies has grown and there's this false perception that there's always been that huge party weekend," she said.
"People looked forward to a day outside in the sun, but there wasn't the hype," she added.
Though it may not have always been a huge party weekend, students who attended Bowdoin when the school was all-male had a special reason to celebrate: Ivies Weekend was an opportunity to interact with women on campus.
"Before Bowdoin went co-ed, Ivies started with Bowdoin night at the Pops on a Thursday or Friday night," said John Dennis '77. "The idea was you would go down to Boston to pick up your date and come up to campus for the weekend."
Women who did not come up to Bowdoin from Boston often came from students' hometowns, or other nearby colleges like Smith, Colby, and Bates.
"The majority of guys had 'dates' for the weekend?and, of course, these dates had to be from somewhere else," said Bob Lakin '68. "Most dates would arrive sometime during the day on Friday and stay until Sunday."
The presence of women on campus, however, did not mean all rules were forfeited.
"Parietal hour rules were still in effect, meaning women could not be in dorms after a certain time and guys had to be out of the fraternities after some hour," said Lakin. "Our dates typically stayed in fraternity houses and the guys moved out and stayed in dorms with friends."
"We actually had chaperones (usually one or two sets of frat member parents) who stayed in the frat houses with all the girls. They got a room to stay/sleep in, their own supply of liquor, and hopefully joined in with the partying," added Lakin.
Despite the fact that most dates didn't arrive till Friday, according to Lakin, most students would begin Ivies on Thursday after classes were over and continue through the weekend.
"At the time, we had Saturday morning classes and I can't remember if they were still scheduled on Ivies Weekend?I don't think so, but if they were, I am sure we took our dates," said Lakin.
During Ivies, fraternities operated much in the way that College Houses do now.
"Some frats made an attempt to have somewhat civilized cocktail parties on Friday night," said Lakin.
"All fraternities ran special social events for the weekend, usually a campus-wide with live music somewhere," added Dennis.
Alumni agree that Ivies Weekend was one the best weekends at Bowdoin, in part because the spring weather had finally arrived.
"Some people would go to beaches during the day and I can remember going somewhere down near Mere Point, sitting in the warm sun getting burned, and seeing a leftover snowbank nearby," said Lakin.
Dennis said that his Ivies weekends were also marked by trips off campus to enjoy the warm weather.
"During the day if the weather was nice, there was usually on Saturday or Sunday afternoon a mass flocking by all the frats to Popham, usually with a keg in tow," said Dennis. "The big idea if you were a guy was to figure out how to get a date, and if you couldn't, there was the keg."
Similarly to Ivies today, work was mostly abandoned for the duration of the weekend.
"Almost nobody studied that weekend, but I would say that we did study leading into the weekend and got back to work right after, although it was hard because all the fun for the year was essentially over," said Lakin.
"As I recall, Ivies Weekend in the late sixties was either the first or second weekend in May, perhaps later than it is now. However, we had a different academic calendar and classes went later into May than now. Thus, we were actually further from exam time when Ivies was celebrated than you might be now," he added.
Drinking did occur, though possibly not as heavily as it does today.
"Beer was the drink of choice," said Lakin. "I don't remember people getting really sick from drinking or needing to go to the hospital."
"I also don't remember many sober people," he added.
"It kind of plays out as a little vacation," said Pacelli. "People look at it as a break from the rigors of the end of the semester."
Students said although they had a lot of work to get done before the end of the semester, they felt that Ivies was a necessary break.
"People at Bowdoin are such focused, diligent, motivated students, and they put that before Ivies," said Matt Yantakosol '10.
"Because kids have had so much work, they really want Ivies to kind of relax," he added.
"Most people use it to let work slide," added Laurel Clark '10.