By SARAH CUTLER
For the first time since Slope Day became a school-sponsored event in 2001, the celebration will take place the day after the end of classes — rather than on the last day of classes.
The scheduling change, which will make Thursday, May 8, 2014 Slope Day, will eliminate student conflicts with academic classes and will save Cornell $40,000 in overtime pay for Cornell Police, Campus Life, Facilities and Building Care staff, according to Lee Singer ’14, executive chair of the Slope Day Programming Board. The change will also make it easier for the board to find “better” artists who might not be available on a Friday, when Slope Day is typically held, Singer said.
“We found that Thursday was the best fit for the goals we had in mind for Slope Day,” Singer said. “I’m very happy with this. It’s the best of both worlds, and I think it’s one of those changes where, in the long run, it’s going to be very beneficial for students and everyone involved.”
Student reactions to the change ranged from relief at not having to miss classes to disappointment at the loss of the tradition of missing classes on Slope Day.
While Chris Habib ’15 said he “doesn’t really care” about Slope Day and that the date is not that important, Savannah Dowling ‘16 said she feels the new schedule opposes the tradition of the event.
“I feel like Slope Day should be on the last day of classes — it feels so traditional,” Dowling said. “There’s a mutual understanding between professors and students that it should be a fun day. It’s like a student rebellion sort of thing.”
And while Danielle LaBarbiera ’15 said it is “convenient” that students will not have to skip classes on Slope Day, she added that skipping class is a tradition that’s been “ruined” by the change.
For Olivia Griswold ’16, the change “kills the vibe” of Slope Day, she said.
“It’s usually the last day of classes, so it’s super exciting, but the next day, finals are kicking you already,” she said. “And this makes you go to class — who wants to do that?”
But other students commended the change, acknowledging that it would likely be better for students with prior commitments — and classes — on Slope Day.
“If people have commitments like a math quiz or don’t want to miss a lecture, it’ll make everyone happy,” Parmeet Singh ’16 said.
Richard Lo ’16, who skipped classes last year for Slope Day, said he is happy about the schedule change.
“If I skip, I feel like I’m wasting my tuition,” he said. “I think this is a great idea.”
Singer said he is not concerned about changing the tradition of the event. On the contrary, he said, holding the celebration after classes are over is the “sustainable change” the Programming Board has been looking for.
“The tradition is that Slope Day is a celebration of the last day of classes, and it still fulfills that role,” Singer said. “It still provides that way for students to blow off steam, and it still celebrates the end of the semester and the arrival of spring. I don’t see this changing the culture of the event at all.”