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Spring weekend to include expanded daytime programs

by Karen A. Grava - April 10, 2006

Spring weekend this year will have expanded daytime University programming and a focus on celebrating the accomplishments of the semester.

Programming for the weekend April 21-23 will include a road race, an art display, a dodgeball tournament, a basketball two-on-two tournament, the traditional oozeball tournament, a concert, a special breakfast for students in Whitney Hall on Saturday morning, April 22, and other events.

The weekend will kick off with a campus-wide 125th anniversary picnic on Friday, April 21 at Dow Field, the site of the old UConn Co-op Building, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., to celebrate Founders Day.

On Saturday, April 22, from noon to 2 p.m., there will be a rope pull, inspired by an event in the early 1900s across Swan Lake.

It will take place on the Great Lawn, outside Beach Hall on Route 195.

“We have spent a lot of time this year working with students,” says Tom Szigethy, director of the Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Education and Services.

 “A number of groups have come together to say, ‘this is a weekend to celebrate what we have accomplished.’ Students want this to be a celebration to focus on UConn students. They’re interested in seeing friends and keeping things safe and cordial.”

Based on his conversations with students, Szigethy says it is clear that although many attend some spring weekend unsanctioned events in their freshman year, they lose interest in attending as they become upperclass students.

“Interest in spring weekend wanes as students get older,” he says. “In effect, they outgrow it.”

Szigethy says that students who do attend spring weekend parties say they go to be with friends, and many have told him they would like more non-alcohol related events.

He noted that an overwhelming majority of students feel that uninvited guests make spring weekend events less safe.

 “Many students have said they do not agree with the negative activities which occur due to the unsanctioned events of spring weekend.”

This year, the University has again written to high schools and other colleges asking them to help keep their students away from spring weekend.

The Undergraduate Student Government is again providing bracelets to UConn students and their guests as a way to discourage outsiders from attending spring weekend events and demonstrate that this weekend focuses on UConn students and their accomplishments.

The program began because many of those with the most disturbing behaviors during past spring weekends were non-UConn affiliated people.

Several student groups have formed to plan events, including a student art display and sale in the Student Union on April 22 and 23, sponsored by students in the School of Fine Arts.

Students from a management of sports services class in the Neag School of Education have planned a dodge ball tournament on Thursday night, in conjunction with a group called Natural High, which promotes alternatives to alcohol.

The fraternity TKE is planning a 5K road race on Saturday morning to raise money for Alzheimer’s research.

The weekend also will feature an April 22 oozeball tournament on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences quad (between Beach Hall and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences).

This year, faculty, staff, and administrators have been encouraged to form teams. Teams can register from noon to 5 p.m. at Alumni House this week. Information can be found at www.UConnAlumni.com/oozeball or by calling the Alumni Association at 860-486-2240.

There will be a rock concert at Gampel Pavilion on Saturday night April 23 featuring headliner O.A.R.   The concert is open only to students with UConn IDs and one guest per UConn student.    

 UConn and state police this year will again conduct stepped-up drunken driving enforcement stops.

Szigethy says 80 nursing students have been trained to identify signs of when students might need medical assistance and will be working alongside community assistants in residence halls.

Students charged with crimes during the weekend will be notified immediately by student affairs personnel working at the police station that their conduct may have violated the Student Code of Conduct and a hearing will be scheduled.

Non-students will be given letters asking them not to return to campus and, if their high school or college is known, their schools will be informed.

“Notifying our students immediately lets us adjudicate most cases before finals,” says Cathy Cocks, director of judicial affairs.

Residential Life staff are also making a concerted effort to forewarn students of the consequences of inappropriate and illegal behavior.

The Bacchus and Gamma prevention of substance abuse student group is administering its Safe Pledge. Students who agree have their names put into a raffle to win an I-pod and other prizes.

Pledges can be obtained from the Office of AOD Education and Services on the garden level of Wilbur Cross (down the hall from Orientation).

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