Marietta College's decades-old Doo Dah Day tradition has been dropped as an official sponsored event for the end of the 2013-2014 school year, but students and organizations confirmed that the spring celebration event is simply taking new form.
Doo Dah Day, dating back to April of 1974, began as a Student Life Board-sponsored event designed to be a day packed with festivities to ring in spring and allow students the chance to blow off steam as final exams loomed.
Now 40 years later, the Pioneer Activities Council, the new student events planning board for the college, is replacing Doo Dah Day with Pio-Palooza. Laura Keating, the council's president, said Doo Dah Day is still being planned as a separate event but is just now in the hands of the general student population.
"They're not actually canceling it, they're just re-vamping it, so it will not have the negative connotation of being all about alcohol," said freshman Katie Plas, 19.
Keating said Pio-Palooza will be a similar event, where the PAC will bring in inflatables, food and a mechanical bull on April 5 for students to enjoy, but without alcohol.
"It is what it is, but I also don't drink, so it's different for me," said freshman Anna Cooper, 17.
At a glance
Marietta College Doo Dah Day:
Inaugural Day: April 20, 1974.
Held every year since.
Officially dropped by Pioneer Activities Council for 2014.
April 5: Pio-Palooza on the Fourth Street field with inflatables, food and games.
April 19: Students plan for separate, student-run Doo Dah Day.
The decision came after an attempted re-vamping of Doo Dah Day last year flopped.
"Last year we put on a huge concert...we wanted to make a statement to say that we can do better, and we just really wanted to do something awesome because students had been dissatisfied with previous Doo Dah Days," Keating said.
The office of Marietta College President Joseph Bruno, along with the support of student senate and the College Union Board, donated the $25,000 necessary to put on the concert.
Unfortunately, a survey administered after the concert, which featured pop band Hello Goodbye, came back with negative results.
"They didn't like how it was set up and we had small attendance," Keating said. "Most were saying they wanted it to be like the old way, like it was in the 1970s."
That "old way," Keating said, was the keg-lined Marietta College mall, a tradition no longer a possibility due to entirely different laws on alcohol consumption.
"We came to the conclusion that we can't satisfy students, so we just decided the event would no longer be PAC's responsibility," Keating said, citing that the liabilities involved were just too great to handle, along with it not being worth the cost.
Keating said aside from Pio-Palooza, she knew students were still planning a Doo Dah Day.
"By doing this, we're putting it back into the hands of students; that's our goal," she said. "Doo Dah Day used to be completely student-run, so personally I think if students take advantage of it, it could be the greatest yet."
Though kept secretive, students did confirm that plans were in the works to launch a student-run Doo Dah Day after Pio-Palooza.
Luke Badaczewski, 22, has enjoyed several years of Doo Dah Day in the past, and has assured the college community that a group of students has been meeting in secret to plan the event for April 19.
"Now there's a student-led plan to re-launch this, and the administration is in support of it, saying that 'we can do this, and there's nothing holding us back,'" Badaczewski said.
Badaczewski serves on student senate, and said the two separate days should still be a good time, regardless of changes, and that letting the students handle it would actually make it better.
"It's not exactly conducive to doing well on your finals, but it's a celebration of spring, and it's good for campus and it's good for campus morale," Badaczewski said.
Rumors were also flying that Senior Week, the planned week packed with activities leading up to graduation, would not take place after this school year.
Tom Perry, executive director for strategic communications and marketing for the college, said the week is not technically being canceled, just re-worked because the college will be moving commencement next year.
"We're moving commencement back a week, which has been on Mother's Day in the past," he said. "Instead, the (senior) week will just be an abbreviated version of what we already have."
Perry said the week, which this year includes activities like a Valley Gem cruise, bowling, brunch and movies, will most likely just take place in the few days leading up to graduation rather than being the full week, but could not confirm set dates.
"There's people who don't like having commencement on Mother's Day and there's some that do, so we're just trying to keep it all together in a shorter time frame," he said.
Graduation 2015 will be held May 3, making it a week earlier.
"My understanding is that they're still trying to accommodate senior finals so they can be earlier in the week so they can still participate in the activities toward the end," Perry said.