Weighing in on other university parties: Unofficial versus other festivals

By Samiha Uddin

It’s that time of the year again. For the past couple of weeks, everyone’s been slowly getting ready for “Unofficial.” Talks of pre-gaming have been going around for sometime, and you’re slowly getting notifications on Facebook about “Unofficial Unofficial parties.”

But the University isn’t the only college that has a notorious “party.” Have you ever wondered what other schools are known for?

“4/20 Smoke Out” at the University of Colorado Boulder

Every year on April 20, the University of Colorado Boulder would hotbox their Main Quad at the campus by smoking marijuana.

Thomas Wood, a student at the University of Colorado Boulder and the editor-in-chief of their student newspaper CU Independent, said approximately 10,000 students would join together on the Quad and unite on “cloud nine.”

But in 2011, the event stopped.

“After 2011, (University of Colorado-Boulder) decided to crack down on it because it devalues student degrees,” Wood said.

In 2012, the university’s staff brought in security and police to spray the entire campus with fish fertilizer to prevent the event’s further celebration. Then, in 2013, the campus was closed from outsiders.

Though marijuana was legalized in the state of Colorado in 2012 the drug is treated with similar restrictions as alcohol. Anyone above the age of 21 can possess up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use.

By 2015, the campus was open to outsiders again, but students on campus already got the idea: The “4/20 Smoke Out” wouldn’t be happening.

But that didn’t stop businesses around the Boulder campus from promoting the drug. Businesses would promote marijuana that whole week, and students over the age of 21 could purchase it.

Even though the event stopped at Boulder, students still find ways to celebrate.

“Every year, Redman and Method Man and a lot of other celebrities associated with weed would perform at Denver,” Wood said. “A lot of concerts happen.”

“Little 500” at Indiana University

Indiana University’s largest event of the year centers around an enormous bicycle race. Called “Little 500,” the actual bicycle days take place in April.

With approximately 33 teams, the first day is dedicated to the women, who will race for 100 timed laps, while the men on the second day race for 200 timed laps. Because fraternity and sorority members make up these teams, the audience is also filled with fraternity and sorority members, along with students from the university itself and other visiting colleges.

Grace Palmieri, a student at Indiana University, knew nothing about the race before she came to campus — except that it was the “biggest event at IU.”

“There’s even a guide for Little 500,” Palmieri said.

A sports reporter for the school’s student newspaper, Indiana Daily Student, she covered the event during her sophomore year and explained that “the whole campus gets excited to go the race.”

“It’s called ‘America’s Greatest College Weekend’ because so many students come down to watch the race along with family members,” Palmieri said.

But “Little 500” isn’t just about racing. Several other activities centered around bike racing also take place during that week as well, giving an opportunity for non-competitors to race.

Indiana University also has a drinking scene during this race weekend, similar to “Unofficial.”

Drinking starts at 8 a.m. and many audience members go to the event drunk to root for their peers. 

The event became popular due to its feature in the movie, “Breaking Away,” as well as the fact that it’s a fundraiser for scholarship money.

At “Little 500,” Indiana students play hard and bike hard.

“Veishea” at Iowa State University

For 92 years and up until August 7, 2014, Iowa State had the “Veishea” celebration, a week-long celebration of the original colleges of Iowa State.

Veishea (pronounced “vee-sha”) stood for the colleges of Veterinary, Engineering, Industrial-Science, Home Economics and Agriculture.

“Everyone was just happy; it was a really happy week,” said Danielle Ferguson, student at Iowa State University and editor-in-chief of their student newspaper, Iowa State Daily. “There would be lunch on the central campus and a bunch of people getting food; (just) fun events through the week. A main tradition was selling cherry pies — I have no idea how it started, though. The cherry pies were made in a student run restaurant, and they would make over 10,000 pies. These pies were made only during Veishea.”

Along with the notorious pie tradition, several international food trucks were involved, along with a concert and a parade.

Similar to the previous schools mentioned, Iowa State’s drinking scene is vast. Parties were a part of the week as well, and if a student wanted to have their friends over, a wrist band was required.

But in 2014, people started to get rowdy — leading to the event’s cancellation.

“(The cancellation) was kind (of) confusing. It was a Tuesday night, and the streets of our campus had a really full crowd, and everyone was getting restless. People started to flip cars over and a lamp pole. (It) knocked out over a student’s head. The next day, a Tuesday, the President (of Iowa State) said that (Veishea) was canceled. All activities were canceled in the middle of a week celebration,” Ferguson said.

Despite the termination of Veishea, the cherry pie tradition as well as the food truck tradition still continues.

“During Spring 2014, the pies were given to dining centers and just this year, (students) are trying to incorporate Veishea within the campus. There’s a good chance that the cherry pies are going to be sold next year during Valentine’s day, and the international food drive is probably coming back, too. We’re also trying to bring a homecoming parade this fall,” Ferguson said.

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