March 11, 2003

Fourth-years set aside B.A. work for evening of fun at the Pub

Strategically timed after the completion of classes but before the nocturnal cram-fest for exams, fourth-years in the College will soon have the opportunity to forget as much material as a night of drinking permits.

The official end of classes for the quarter, Wednesday marks Senior Night at the Pub, a quarterly tradition for the outgoing class to relax before the rush of finals begins.

"Last Senior Night only three- or four-hundred made it out," said Juliana Garcia-Uribe, a fourth-year in the College. "I hope more come out this time."

While Senior Night at the Pub comes as icy weather blankets the University and the uncertainty of B.A. papers mars thoughts of graduation, the evening of class camaraderie serves as a reminder for senior class events to come. It whets fourth-years' appetites for Senior Week, a staple event at the end of spring quarter.

"As we're planning all the activities and fun stuff, all I can think of is how much longer we have until then--and how cold it is now," said Emilee Lales, a fourth-year in the College and organizer for Senior Week.

Senior Week, which occurs during the exam week of spring quarter when fourth-years have already completed their finals, fills the period until graduation with baseball games, clubs, restaurants, and a trip to an amusement park.

To some, it has become known as the last-ditch effort to ensure that students in the College can't say that they have not had at least one fun week during their time here.

"For the first time in your life you can just have fun for a week," Lales said. "It's a celebration of what you have done for the last four years--where we have been and where we are going to go."

This year's Senior Week includes a trip to the Great America theme park, an outing to see the White Sox play at Comiskey Park, and an evening at the Kingston Mines, a downtown blues club.

Noticeably missing from this year's Senior Week lineup is the pub crawl, the traditional bacchanalian progression through Wrigleyville. It will be replaced by an evening on Weed Street, which will include clubbing, karaoke, and eating, according to Garcia-Uribe, an organizer for the week's events.

"We needed to find somewhere where it wouldn't be all about drinking," she said.

In explaining why this year's Senior Week would not include the pub crawl, Lales took a more direct approach: "It gives us a chance to relax and have fun instead of running around and pounding beer," she said. "We've mixed the programming up enough for seniors to have enough time to relax and pack."

Senior Week is a project of the College Programming Office (CPO), whose growth and increased activity over the past few years has increasingly breathed life into the communal spirit of each successive class.

According to Dan McCormick, a College programming coordinator in the CPO, the office is currently developing activities to foster a better sense of class pride, citing the class Web sites as a successful recent implementation. The CPO also organizes Orientation Week, and is holding preliminary sessions this week for next year's O-Aides.

"It's an attempt to create a greater sense of identity and pride in association with the University," McCormick said. "We want people to leave the school being happy they went here and seeing it as something to be proud of."

Lales, describing the best part of the upcoming Senior Week, showcased the fruit of the CPO's labor. "Our class is the coolest," she said. "We were the first ones to set the cool precedent. We know how to have fun."