The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Staff Editorial: Responsibility falls to the student body to save Serendipity

“I wouldn’t have drunk that much on a normal weekend, but it was Serendipity!”

Sound familiar? This statement, and variations thereon, reflect the attitude many Guilford students have toward Serendipity. It is the weekend to let loose, to push yourself, to forget about rules and obligations in celebrating the arrival of spring.

It is also the weekend that Guilford College Public Safety records five to 10 times the number of documentations as compared to a normal weekend. It is the weekend when all RA’s are on rotating duty, when all Community Directors are on high alert and when Public Safety triples the staff on shifts during peak hours. It is a weekend that, after this year, may cease to exist.

Like us, it might shock you that Serendipity could be canceled. However, the possibility is extremely real. In order to save Serendipity, the student body must collectively change its attitude; the weekend can’t continue to be about pushing boundaries.

It is easy to simply blame the administration, but Guilford is far from alone. Colleges and universities across the U.S. have been canceling long-standing traditions for fear of the potential liability. Dartmouth College, Tufts University and the University of Connecticut are a few examples.

Their reasoning is based on the legal doctrine of “in loco parentis.” Basically, while you are on campus, the college acts as a parent would by taking reasonable measures to prevent harm from befalling you. Failure to do so can result in lawsuits against the school, loss of funding, damage to its reputation and more.

Guilford’s administration has been struggling with the balance between protecting students and retaining the integrity of Serendipity for years. The issue lies at the heart of the culture of Serendipity: students using the existence of the festival to justify behavior such as binge drinking, consumption of illegal drugs and defiance of authority. These behaviors lead to larger problems like sexual assault, drunk driving and property destruction.

The administration can only increase its efforts to protect us to a certain extent. Ultimately, saving Serendipity is the responsibility of the students who participate.

“This is about us, as a community,” said Andy Strickler, dean of admission and financial aid, to the students who attended the “Save Serendipity” forum on Thursday, Sept. 25. “We need your help.”

We at The Guilfordian want Serendipity to survive. But we can’t bring about the necessary changes alone. It is our responsibility as a student body to reshape the culture of Serendipity. Our participation in the weekend must reflect a desire for community wellness and conscious effort to protect each other from harm. The variations in how this culture shift could manifest are many, but one thing is certain: if our approach to Serendipity doesn’t change, future students will never experience the tradition.

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