April 18, 2013
When the CAB members rushed on to the stage at the end of the Walk the Moon concert to exclaim that we had secured Macklemore for the Class and Charter Concert, images of the unique day started to run through my head. It was just then, with all the hype of the concert in my face, that I began to contemplate the original purpose of Hamilton’s sacred day. When the Administration convened to decide upon the schedule for the 2012-2013 academic year, they aimed to accentuate the day’s main purpose, which is—according to them—to laud members of our community for various achievements.
Their ultimate product was a result of the desires to celebrate Martin Luther King Day and to modify Hamilton’s cherished tradition. Ultimately, these changes to Class and Charter Day will result in a few interesting consequences which will affect the campus population. The weekend after the concert is likely to be rather calm, the awards ceremony will be highlighted because of its separation from the concert and many students might be forced to find alternate ways to leave campus.
For whatever reason, drinking is a well-known pastime on our campus. The changes, which move the award ceremony to Monday, render Friday a full day of class and push the concert to the evening, will likely take the wind out of many students’ sails. The convenient party rhythm of early wake-up, midday concert and evening crash that the day usually fosters, and in which many students usually prosper, is disrupted by these Friday classes.
In addition, the weekend following the Class and Charter Concert will likely be designated for studying for finals. Traditionally, with Friday being the last day of classes, many students have seen the weekend as an opportunity to extend the celebration. However, given that we have a full day of class on Monday, the weekend after the concert is transformed into any other Hamilton weekend. This certainly may have been the Administration’s sneaky way of toning down the party. In fact, if students were to continue the party into this year’s Class and Charter weekend, it might be rather difficult to recover and study for Wednesday night’s exams. Students therefore have every incentive to use the weekend to their advantage and get a head start. Then again, this might not be the only academic move that the schedule fosters.
Separating the two big events of the weekend, the concert and the awards ceremony, will definitely bring attention to our students’ achievements. The ceremony has long been overshadowed by the concert, which, for one reason or another, students have clearly prioritized in the past. With over 140 students receiving awards in last year’s ceremony, the event is important to a large portion of our campus and deserves to be recognized.
I look forward to a Class and Charter Day where the campus is buzzing with congratulations and pride. While not everyone may choose to partake in the concert festivities, certainly everyone can take an interest in the awards ceremony. Many complain about the changes to the schedule, but preserving the sanctity of the awards ceremony could prove to be an important decision in uniting our campus.
Unfortunately, there are some effects that will displace many students. By extending the final exam schedule to Sunday, the Administration has made it difficult for a number of students to move out. Those with working parents and without cars will find it very difficult to get home. There are few solutions to this problem, other than requiring parents to take vacation or students to find storage for the summer—two burdensome measures. For these reasons alone, I argue that the schedule needs reconsideration.
This year will serve as an interesting experiment for how these changes affect Hamilton’s all-important weekend. I foresee both benefits and disadvantages to how we celebrate Class and Charter Day, which might result in future tweaks to the schedule.
I hope that the the Administration will eventually find the right balance between academic and traditional Hamiltonian celebrations that will please the entire campus.