By SLOANE GRINSPOON
Freshmen architecture students have worked all week in preparation for Dragon Day, where they will parade down East Avenue — despite its partial closure due to the construction of Klarman Hall — as part of a hundred-year old University tradition.
According to Aya Mears ’18, co-president of the Dragon Day committee, while the students considered alternate routes for the parade, they ultimately decided to go down East Avenue and have taken spatial constraints into account when constructing the dragon.
“We had to come up with a creative way to have the dragon still look fairly wide while being able to fit through that narrow corridor, so that was a big part of our design process actually,” said Sasson Rafailov ’18, a co-head of construction.
The annual Dragon Day parade — where architecture students build a dragon, parade the dragon down East Avenue to the Engineering Quad and back to the Arts Quad — occurs on the last Friday before Spring Break.
“We had to come up with a creative way to have the dragon still look fairly wide while being able to fit through that narrow corridor.” —Sasson Rafailov ’18
According to Mears, the students this year had more time to prepare for Dragon Day — with eight weeks allotted rather than the usual six.
“There were some kinks to work out in the beginning, getting everyone to do their job,” Mears said. “[So] there were a lot of people who had to pull more than their weight initially, but in the end everyone has come through and been really willing to help.”
The building of the Dragon has gone “smoothly” this year, according to Rafailov and Jeremy Bilotti ’18, also a co-head of construction.
“I think it’s a result of thorough planning, but mostly everyone [has been] willing to pitch in and show up to their building shifts,” Bilotti said. “We’re all really enthusiastic about it, so right now we’re on schedule and we hope to stay that way.”
Students this year said they are hoping to make their dragon as memorable as possible, though they said they are not necessarily trying to upstage the records set by last year’s dragon.
“Last year, [the Class of 2017] broke the length record. We’re not going to go for that this year, but we’re hoping to just make a really cool looking dragon using some new materials,” Bilotti said. “I don’t want to give away too much though.”
Dragon Day comes with many traditions that precede the actual parade. According to Alex Donovan ’18, many students shaved off a chunk of hair on the sides on their heads last Sunday.
On Tuesday, students participated in a “nerd walk” — where they were dressed up “as engineers” and went to the libraries, Engineering Quad and “goofed off” with people, Donovan said.
On Wednesday, students conducted a “green streak,” where they painted their bodies green and ran scantily clad into classes and buildings across campus.
According to Donovan, students have been conducting an extensive social media campaign to raise awareness for this year’s parade. Students have increased the amount of documentation of their traditions through video clips and pictures, posting them on Facebook as advertisements.
This is the first year that a Twitter feed was made for Dragon Day, according to Christopher Andras ’18, student representative for the Architecture Class of 2018.
Andras says he is most looking forward to “the excitement and energy” he saw in both the architects and the rest of the student body.
The students said they were hesitant to reveal too much information regarding what the dragon will look like, but they did say that the dragon will have movable parts and that the construction of the dragon has involved welding.
“It is going to look significantly different from any dragon that I think I have [ever] seen,” Andras said.