By Carter Howe
This year’s Fall Fest, an event that started last year to replace the annual 10/10 celebration, will take place this Saturday, Oct. 7 and feature a wide range of events, including many more activities geared toward college students than at last year’s event. There are activities scheduled throughout the day at different locations across campus, which is meant to replicate the movement aspect of 10/10 that many students enjoyed.
Among other activities planned are lawn games and a set of free food for students by the athletic complex in the early afternoon to coincide with the football and volleyball games, food trucks, live music and massages by the commencement stage later in the day, a “Fall Feast” at the dining hall and performances by rapper CupcakKe and an alumni DJ later at night at the Harris Center. At the same time as the Harris party, there will also be laser tag, zorbs (human-sized hamster balls) and a movie with snacks in the Bear for students that may want a less intense experience.
Though last year’s event was somewhat successful in reducing some of the destructive effects that both students and administrators associated with 10/10 — no arrests were reported that night — it did not do enough to provide college students with fun events to replace the festivities of 10/10, acknowledged Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Andrea Conner.
“Last year didn’t go far enough in choosing actual fun things for college students. Frankly, I feel like the faculty and staff kids that came had more fun [so] … in the first year in some ways, we feel we did interrupt the dangerous behaviors that we were seeing with 10/10, but we didn’t yet build anything that people would want to come back,” Conner said.
Another criticism students had of last year’s Fall Fest — and about the cancellation of 10/10 in general — was the lack of student input involved in its planning. This year, Conner said there was much more student involvement, with a committee of dozens of students helping to plan the event and decisions about which activities to include being made using data from a survey sent to students.
“The feedback that we got was actually sort of directly translated into making sure we had outdoor music, making sure we had indoor music, making sure there was an opportunity to dance, and food trucks also ranked really highly, and we have those for the afternoon … so yeah I feel really great about the student input that we got through the survey,” Conner said.
Absent from the planning committee, however, were members of the Frisbee team, the traditional organizers of 10/10 in the past.
“For this year, honestly none of the leadership had time to be involved with ‘Fall Fest’ and none felt compelled to join in,” wrote an anonymous member of the Frisbee leadership in an email to The S&B.
Frisbee leadership also believes the administration has not done enough to support off campus 10/10 celebrations as they believe many students will choose to continue the 10/10 tradition off-campus instead of participating in the on-campus Fall Fest activities. After petitioning SGA for funding to provide food and “rescue dogs” — student volunteers who make sure partygoers are safe during the night — Frisbee leaders were denied and told they would also not be officially allowed to sell t-shirts to fund their event.
“To us, this came as an admission that the administration would rather leave students to their own devices with no support while funding events that … won’t stop people drinking than give us a little bit of funding to improve the safety of an event that has been pushed to a more unsafe location,” the anonymous member of Frisbee leadership wrote.
The Department of Student Affairs hosted a harm reduction workshop earlier in the week for off campus party hosts, however, and the Frisbee leadership appreciates this guidance from the administration and affirmation that students can be responsible party hosts.
“There was a very comprehensive active bystander and offcampus safety presentation given by Jen Jacobsen this week, giving off campus houses concrete tools to make party environments safer. This is absolutely in the spirit of 10/10 and we greatly appreciated being recognized as students capable of organizing and having fun in safe ways,” the member of Frisbee leadership wrote.
Ultimately, Conner said, though many students enjoyed 10/10, she hopes that Fall Fest will become a new tradition for Grinnellians, one that is not built around alcohol.
“When you said like what are the traditions that you remember most about Grinnell, they would say 10/10. … It’s troublesome that the fondest memories are these giant drinking parties,” Conner said.
“We hope that Fall Fest grows and grows each year and gets better and better and more fun and it becomes something that people look forward to.”