Senior Week to feature river cruise, picnic

By Peter Wright

Between finals and Commencement, for Macalester seniors there is Senior Week. The annual event, which acts as a prelude to graduation, will be held on May 12-17 with a few changes from past years.”We’re trying-out a couple small new things, some bigger than others,” Emma Shafer, co-chair of the Senior Week Committee, said.

Shafer and Katie Miller were the co-chairs on the committee to plan the event, which started having regular meetings at the beginning of the semester. They said that the goal of Senior Week is to allow the students to have one last chance to do things as an organized group and to offer a nice way to say goodbye.

The week consists of two to three events every day until Commencement.

On Monday there will be a champagne toast in Kagin, an evening gathering at Rosen’s in the Minneapolis Warehouse District and a lecture from Political Science Professor Adrienne Christiansen about the next step after graduating.

Assistant Director of Campus Programs Sylvester Gaskin, who is acting as the staff representative to the Senior Week committee, said that the lecture is new this year. Seniors were allowed to vote on who they wanted to hear speak earlier in the year and they decided to select Christiansen.

Shafer said that she hopes the lecture will establish itself this year and become a tradition, much like some of the other events like the party held for graduates and their families after Commencement featuring a performance by Kings of Dismother, a band composed entirely of Macalester students and a May 14 cruise on the Mississippi River.

In addition to the lecture, a “last supper” in Café Mac on May 14 and a community service project were added to the schedule this year.

Seniors were required to register for the events they plan to attend this year, which caused some problems when some students did not turn-in their form on time. After extending the deadline, Shafer said that most of the complaints seemed to settle down.

“We try to be as accommodating as possible,” she said.

Despite the early snafu with registering, Miller said that turn-out will probably be really good with roughly 375 to 400 people signed-up for each event. Shafer added that the largest turn-out is expected to be approximately 430 people for the “last supper.”

Gaskin said that the turn-out is actually a little smaller than past years, but not by much. He said that one possible reason for the slight drop is simply because families are arriving while the events are happening, and the seniors are busy with other things.

Most of the events were paid for completely with funds from the activity fee, but Shafer said that some of the more unique off-campus events, like the river cruise or canoeing in Taylors Falls, required a small payment from any seniors interested in going. That seemed to have an effect on attendance.

“We drew bigger numbers than I expected for things like the picnic at Newell Park,” Shafer said.

Miller said that events that require a fee were subsidized and discounted in order to make them affordable to college students.

“We really charge as minimum as possible,” Miller said.

Gaskin said that some of the companies that run the off-campus activities have already hosted Senior Week before, so they may offer discounts to the college as a regular customer.

Shafer said that she was particularly thankful for the help from those companies considering that the college probably isn’t one of their biggest customers.

In addition to the off-campus events, there is a $12 fee to register family and friends at the graduation party from 8 p.m. to midnight on May 17, but graduates get in for free.

A complete schedule of the Senior Week events is available online at http://www.macalester.edu/commencement/seniorweek.html.