By Zane Silk
Big changes are coming to Grinnell’s annual 10/10 party, which takes place every year on the Saturday closest to Oct. 10. While the details of the changes remained a mystery following the announcement of a new alcohol policy in August, the new plans are now materializing.
The revamped event is being planned by a 10/10 committee that consists of Committee Chair Andrea Conner, Vice President of Student Affairs; Michael Sims, director of Campus Center Operations/Student Activities; the two Chairs of All Campus Events; the two Chairs of Weekend; one representative each from the men’s and women’s Ultimate Frisbee teams and a Community Advisor.
“We knew that we wanted to enlist students to help us with those planning efforts, because I am not necessarily the best barometer of what college students will think is fun,” Conner said.
The committee started meeting about five weeks before 10/10, which ACE Co-Chair TJ Jones ’17 admits is a short timeframe to transform what is arguably the College’s biggest annual event.
“It’s a very short time. If it were up to me, we would have met way earlier,” Jones said.
However, Conner believes that everything will come together in time and plans to release the event details on Monday, Oct. 3. General plans are already in place: the event kicks off with a used clothing drive over lunch, followed by a fair on Mac Field with bouncy castles, laser tag, free concession foods and other carnival activities. Afternoon activities include men’s and women’s soccer games and a football game, with activities for attendees during the halftime shows.
After dinner, there will be an open mic, a pub quiz and possibly another game show event, according to Conner. There will also likely be an event in Gardner with student DJs and bands.
Finally, the new event will end with a Harris party hosted by the frisbee teams, the long-time organizers of previous 10/10s, and also a substance free Karaoke event in JRC, both going until 1 a.m.. Conner cited concerns about keeping staff late as preventing an extension of the Harris until 2 a.m., but said there will be pizza available between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. while things wind down.
The 10/10 Harris will be the only event with alcohol served, with a strict wristband policy so that only those of legal age can drink. This will be the biggest test yet for the new student servers, who under the new alcohol policy, are required at all events with alcohol and more than 20 attendees. Until now, the servers have only been employed at the comparatively subdued Wine and Cheese Club.
The choice to have 10/10’s last official event in Harris is notable because of Harris’s location at the north end of campus, considering that previously 10/10 had progressed through the night towards South Campus, ending on High Street.
“There’s something to be said for ending on the north end of campus versus at the south end. … In the reverse direction, we’re hopeful that folks choose to end their night together in Harris,” Conner said. “We’re very hopeful that it doesn’t continue [on to High St.] … we tend to have arrests and citations … when they’re crossing Sixth Avenue.”
Although community building was considered the biggest aspect of 10/10, this was contradictory to the fact that many of the College’s students avoided the festivities as much as possible, according Jen Jacobsen, assistant dean of students.
“Seven years ago, I would probably have guessed the number of attendees at 700 or 800,” And the best estimates last year were maybe 400,” Conner said. “As the attendance at 10/10 has decreased, the attendance at our alternatives has increased … with more and more of our community members it is not sort of unifying and community building.”
Conner recounted how in past years, the Division of Student Affairs would work with the hosts of 10/10 to improve student safety.
“The leaders of the Frisbee team — we put them through the wringer as an institution, and it got a little bit better and a little bit better every year, but there was something about this event that was out of their control.”
Talking to students, it is clear that a substantial number are frustrated by the way the changes were decided upon and implemented, which many see as a top-down approach by the administration which goes against the tenets of Self-Gov. However, other students believe that action on the administration’s part was necessary.
“If we’re making the wrong choices with our voice and that power, I think its appropriate for the administration to step in and say things aren’t right and you need to make a change,” Jones said. “The administration could have worked a little bit better with students on making the changes happen.”
Conner, who plans to have a venue for post-event feedback, cautions against judging solely on the basis of turnout.
“One measure of success is always level of participation. We’re prepared that there will be some [community] members that are disappointed by the change and will choose not to participate, but we’ve also heard from lots of members of our community who are excited,” Conner said. “This is a long game. This is a two or three year transition. I don’t have these really high expectations of 1,300 students [attending this year]. The biggest change for year two will be that we’ll have time to actually book a real live music act that people enjoy.”