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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Brandeis not a party school?

Published: March 21, 2008
Section: Features

Social life at Brandeis. Apparently this is a touchy topic. When asked, most people will avert their eyes, cross their arms, and halfheartedly state, “it’s what you make of it.” Then they’ll mumble something about Rosenthal or one of the semi-existent frats and walk away.

Pachanga and Exstasy were the alleged answers to the challenge of having something to do on a Saturday night here within the beautiful Brandeis campus. However, like most other attempts, the consensus was an overall “meh.”

I asked as many people as I could about these two events. Almost everybody stated something along the lines of “it was fun…but not really my scene.” This surprised me. When nearly everyone who went to both of these events discovers that “it wasn’t really my scene,” then there are some serious planning issues here at Brandeis. So I attempted to pry further into the issue of why this campus is incapable of producing a social event that the majority of the student body finds enjoyable.

At both Pachanga and Exstasy, the lines for entrance and the heavy security were major turn-offs for many students. Many students complained of major hassles they experienced while trying to enter each dance.

“When I got to Exstasy, I left immediately. Why? Two words: metal detectors. What was up with all that security? And that security dude in the ponytail with the earpiece? He looked like a lamer version of Steven Seagal. That guy does not belong at Brandeis,” said Jon Ringvald ’11.

Some students disagreed. “Although I wasn’t even able to make it into Pachanga due to the line, I wasn’t all that bothered by the security at Exstasy. I’m glad they had the money to implement it, especially since there were so many non-Brandeis students there,” said Laura Velez ’11. However, this raised another issue: the noticeable presence of non-Brandeis students who weren’t socially awkward like the rest of us.

Many people who attended both dances had major concerns regarding the attendance of non-Brandeis students. The coordinators of both Pachanga and Exstasy heavily advertised the events to students at other universities with the obvious rationale being: “if we get other students to come to our dance, then Brandeis students actually might come out of their holes.” This strategy proved effective. Not only was there standing room only at the dances, there were ridiculously long lines for entrance. But in a way, this plan backfired. Many Brandeisians had major concerns about these students.

“As soon as I got onto the dance floor at Exstasy I was like whoa… people are actually dancing here! It was to my dismay to find out that the only people who were dancing non-awkwardly were from another school. I then looked past them to see the familiar sight of Brandeis students standing at the edges of the dance floor, staring with longing eyes at the ‘cool crowd,’ unconvincingly attempting to dance while their heads were shooting around wildly looking for people they knew,” said Michael Smith-Vaughan ’11.

These problems will be addressed at the Freshman and Junior/Senior formals. Laura Velez ’11, one of the co-coordinators of the Freshman Black and White Ball stated, “One way we’re going to make the freshman Black and White ball better is by only giving out invites to the freshman class. Although upperclassmen will be allowed to attend, we are trying to create a more familiar environment for the people at the dance. I think that’s one of the main factors that makes for a really good time: the fact that you know a lot of people already and you don’t have to worry about awkward meetings.”

Since the Junior/Senior Formal has closed attendance, the problem of not knowing anyone at the dance will presumably not exist.

So once again, more school sponsored parties have rolled by with an uneventful bang. Besides the occasional “Pachanga and Exstasy were those things that would only be fun if you were suitably intoxicated beforehand,” Brandeis students really didn’t have much else to say about these two events. Be it because they just want to forget and move on, or they were legitimately uninterested in a school-sponsored event, the fact remains that this campus has yet to produce a party of significant proportions.

Perhaps this sums it up: “I loved the first Pachanga because it was my first one ever, but the next one was nothing special,” stated Theresa Sheehan ’11. Maybe school-sponsored dances are just a one-time thing for some people. Well, nobody said you were coming to Brandeis to party. If that’s what you want, you should probably go to a state school.