Hayden’s Hopes: End Greek social monopoly, decrease paper flier usage

Published February 9, 2012, in the Davidsonian

I’ve always been a little bit wary of the Greek social system, but it wasn’t until the other day that I realized one of the things that bothered me most about the way it works at Davidson. They hold an effective monopoly on weekend parties.

Greek houses are good for parties in that they are a supervised space. They do not, however, offer a very stimulating diversity in terms of the parties they put on.

My proposal is that the College should open a space down the hill that can be reserved by independent students. This would effectively end the Greek social monopoly by offering an alternative space with flexible social uses. The space could be reserved by different groups of students on different weekends, perhaps for very different uses. The idea is that this would offer a different kind of option within the down-the-hill culture, rather than the current (perceived) dichotomy between up and down the hill.

There are three places that currently overlap in purpose with the proposed space I’ve discussed above: the Union, the Outpost, and apartments.

Obviously the Union Board offers programming as an alternative to Greek life. It does a great job responding to student needs and requests. Nonetheless, the Union Board is a top-down institution with its own budget and mission statement. It is not an outlet through which independent students can, throughout the year, seek to create their own weekend programming.

The Outpost can be reserved by student groups for nighttime programming. However, this doesn’t often happen, because the best use of the Outpost is for food, and as such is an auxiliary to the current down-the-hill culture.

Apartment parties can be great, but student groups are not allowed to advertise apartment parties. As such, they are limited in their audience not only by size but by administrative strictures (which are, perhaps, well advised).

It might make sense for this independent social space to be located in an existing structure. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a passionate advocate of a campus pub; it might make sense for this space to be located on the second floor of this pub. This way there would be an established oversight mechanism, and space would be conserved.

Another appeal: I’d like to see Davidson decrease its paper flier usage while retaining central posting spaces. The amount of paper printed for announcements is wild in light of the fact that all this information is now available on InsideDavidson. It is true that there should be options for enthusiastic advertisers to get the word out about their events; however, let’s challenge students to get creative with their advertising and pursue alternatives to paper.

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