May 3, 2002

Slope Day '02: Cool Weather, Free Food, Rules

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Mother Nature will not prevent Cornellians from hitting the Slope today to celebrate the final day of classes.

“Rain or shine, I’m gonna get smashed,” said Miles Fisher ’04.

The most up-to-date weather forecast for today from the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) calls for mostly cloudy skies with high temperatures in the lower 50’s. The NRCC also forecasts west winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph.

“This is a little on the cool side,” said Keith Eggleston senior climatologist at the NRCC at Cornell. “Usually you would expect temperatures to be in the low 60’s at this point in the month. Last year was exceptionally warm with temperatures in the mid-80’s.”

Slope Day festivities, which date back to the late 1970’s, when Cornell Dining offered a feast to students on the last day of class, will begin early for many students although University-sponsored activities will not start until later in the day as not to interfere with class instruction on the Arts Quad.

Free Bottled Drinks

As students congregate on the Slope, inexpensive and free food will be available, as will as free bottled and non-alcoholic beverages, according to Susan H. Murphy ’73, vice president for student and academic services. There will also be a DJ providing music for several hours on the Slope.

There have been several new rules that will be actively enforced this year on the Slope to “reduce the risk of alcohol poisioning,” Murphy said.

These rules include the prohibition of hard alcohol from the Slope as well as any glass, plastic bottles, sports bottles, cups or collective containers. Students must bring their Cornell IDs, and if in the possession of alcohol, must prove they are 21 years old or older. Each student of drinking age is permitted to bring no more than a six-pack of unopened 12 oz. cans per person.

As in the past, no furniture, pets, fires, or amplified music will be allowed and no alcoholic beverages may be brought into Slope Fest or campus buildings.

Some students expressed their opinions on the new Slope Day regulations.

“I am very upset that Cornell feels the need to regulate students on Slope Day,” said Matt McCord ’05. “So what if I want to drink a bottle of Cuervo?”

“Today is going to be crazy,” said Russ Shattan ’04.

Slope Fest, the non-alcoholic alternative to Slope Day, will be held on West Campus this year for the third time.

Slope Fest will feature music by Poetic Alchemy, Nada Surf, Oculus and the Cornell Steel Band among others. Slope Fest will also feature laser tag, duck-duck-goose, bouncy boxing, and Twister. Giveaways, free food and other entertainment will be provided.

Last year, 40 students required emergency medical treatment on Slope Day, according to Tim Marchell, director of alcohol policy initiatives at Gannett: Cornell University Health Services.

“Most students who received medical treatment had alcohol poisoning, while a few were treated for alcohol-related injuries,” Marchell said. “Every student who had alcohol poisioning had consumed large quantities of hard alcohol. That is why hard alcohol in any form is banned from the event this year.”

In preparation for Slope Day, Gannett is converting its lobby into an emergency treatment center to assist Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) in treating students for alcohol-related problem. Beds in the lobby are equipped with intravenous fluids and other emergency room supplies.

“By providing services at Gannett, CMC is better able to handle the flow of students to the emergency room. If we did not provide emergency services at Gannett, the students we treat would need to be transported to the medical center,” Marchell said.

To prevent trips to the emergency room, Marchell suggests a few tips for students.

“The safest thing to do is not to drink,” said Marchell.

If students are going to drink, “they should avoid hard alcohol and instead stick to beer or other malt beverages,” Marchell added.

Marchell also suggests students drink in moderation and set limits.

“Students should pace themselves so their blood alcohol does not rise too quickly,” Marchell said. “Students should also alternate non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.”

Students offered their own advice to partying Cornellians.

“If somebody offers you drugs on Slope Day, remember that nope rhymes with slope,” said Jake Schtevie ’03.

Also contrary to what many students believe, not all Cornellians will be drinking away the day.

“My Slope Day will be like every other Friday,” said Tom Calahan ’04. “I will attend class and not allow drugs and alcohol to distract me from carrying out my obligation to learn.”

Archived article by Marc Zawel