March 28, 2005

Architecture Students Celebrate Dragon Day

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As part of the long-standing Cornell tradition, the architecture students paraded down East Avenue on Friday, March 18, surrounding an enormous green dragon.

Starting in 1901, Dragon Day has been an integral part of Cornell’s traditions. In its 104th year, Dragon Day, instead of being scheduled for the Thursday before spring break, was pushed back to the Friday this year.

“The reason we pushed the Dragon back to Friday,” said Prof. Nasrine Seraji, chair of the architecture department, “was because [this way] there is more time for classes before the spring break.”

This year also differed from previous years in the amount of time allotted to the freshmen to work on the project.

“We were actually limited to the amount of hours we could work,” said Day Jimenez ’08, president of the freshman class. “The Department of Architecture was cutting hours back because they had to stop paying the shop supervisors for so much overtime. The great success and pretty much flawless execution of our dragon as a whole made it distinctive from all the recent years.”

Even with the cut in working time, the students still managed to spend exorbitant amounts of time on the project.

“We worked … all through until the Friday of,” said Kerianne Wells ’08, “with some all-nighters, too, but we’re used to that.”

Along with the architect students’ dragon, Dragon Day has included in the past the creation of a Phoenix by the long-rivaled engineering students. Last year, the engineers neglected to participate in the festivities, leaving the architect’s dragon unchallenged. This year, however, the engineers constructed an large wooden animal, which some people interpreted to be a penguin.

“It was just two pieces of wood put together with black paper wrapped around it,” Wells said. In preparation for dragon day, the architecture students designed and sold t-shirts all over campus in order to raise money to pay for equipment and supplies.

According to Natalie Pierro ’09, treasurer of the freshmen class, a total of approximately 1,250 shirts were sold at $10 each. Of the money raised, $3,000 was used for the construction of the dragon. The rest of the money will be saved for next year’s Beaux Arts Ball, which the sophomore class organizes for the architecture school every year.

As for the success of the event on the whole, Jimenez said, “It allowed our class a lot of time to bond and grow stronger as a team, where usually in our work we are forced to design and create as individuals.”

Having pushed back the day to Friday, many thought that the amount of people present at Dragon Day would have been lowered. Even with many people already home or on their way home for spring break, however, the crowd did not waver.

“There were so many people there,” said Sydney Malawer ’08, “it was absolute craziness.” “It’s amazing seeing and being present for a part of Cornell’s history as renowned and famous as Dragon Day,” said Seth Luxenberg ’08. “The students have been doing this for so long, it’s great to finally witness the true enormity of it.”

At the end of the march, the architecture students led their dragon back to the arts quad, where they proceeded in the traditional burning of the dragon, leaving the head as the only piece of evidence of all the hard work they accomplished.

“I was congratulated by many upperclassmen that this was the best dragon they had seen in their years at Cornell,” Jimenez said. “It was very successful.”

Archived article by mily Gordon

Sun Staff Writer