For many, Slope Day is the time-honored tradition of relaxing and drinking after a long semester, but a dedicated group of students and staff is working instead to make Slope Fest the focus of the end of the year celebration.
With an inflatable slide, obstacle course, carnival games and bands, Slope Fest will “provide a great outlet on the last day of classes,” said Diane Horey ’02, president of the student-run Slope Fest Planning Committee.
Although Slope Day has been a long-time Cornell tradition, the first Slope Fest was held only three years ago.
“Slope Fest is still in its infancy stage,” said Claire Ackerman ’01, treasurer of the Slope Fest Planning Committee. “But it gets bigger and better every year.”
“Last year we started with zero funding, but this year we started with over $23,000,” Ackerman said.
Students can expect similar activities as last year, including inflatables, carnival games and venders, but the committee hopes to attract a greater number of students with additional activities and an expanded perimeter on West Campus.
“It’s going to be a great deal different,” Horey said. “The focus is on music because that’s what the students want.”
“We’re trying to get a bigger name band, along the lines of Guster,” said Joseph Scaffido, assistant dean of students for student activities and one of the staff advisors to the committee. “Hopefully, it’ll draw more people down from the slope.”
“We sent out a survey to the student population about bands, so the students have a direct say,” Horey added.
The survey is available on the World Wide Web at www.sao.cornell.edu/SlopeFest, and will be accepted until 5 p.m. next Monday.
As in past years, the committee hopes that Slope Fest will provide an alternative to drinking, which is a hallmark of Slope Day.
“Slope Day is associated with high-risk drinking, but maybe Slope Fest will make a difference for a student who is a moderate drinker,” said Catherine Holmes, Associate Dean of Students. “Maybe that student will have two drinks instead of three.
The main focus of Slope Fest, committee members agreed, was to promote an atmosphere of safety in celebration.
“Slope Fest makes the celebration more inclusive,” Ackerman said. “It’s for those who want to drink and those who don’t.”
“I went to Slope Fest last year, and I thought it was a great way to relax at the end of the year,” said Justin Morehead ’03. “It’s great to have an alternative to binge drinking on the hill.”
Many students welcome the proposed changes and the emphasis on music.
“Last year the bands were kind of lame and no one participated,” said Katy Pan ’02.
“I didn’t go to Slope Fest last year,” said Katie Weinbaum ’03, “but I would definitely go this year if they have a great band.”
“The focus is music,” Horey concluded. “It’s going to be huge!”
Archived article by Elisa Jillson