Opinion Poll: Thoughts on the 5C Party Scene?

By Taylor Galla ‘18
Opinion Poll Columnist

28% are happy with the number and variety of 5C events;
24% felt there were enough events, but for various reasons did not feel comfortable attending them;
21% thought there were not enough events
10% felt there are not enough events that are inclusive towards all identities
7% thought there were not enough events for people who are substance-free

One of the most divisive and frequently-discussed issues on these five campuses is the party scene. Whether you attend or not, parties will inevitably come up in conversation or on Yik Yak, or you’ll be awoken by the rowdy people and trap music. Many people in colleges all over the country, and very much at the 5Cs, work for the freedom of the weekend, and parties serve as a way to unwind and let off steam from the stressful week. Parties also play a critical role in gaining important social skills and, developmentally, help young adults to figure out what they like and don’t like. Although when improperly approached, party culture can usher in unhealthy and potentially self-destructive habits, if one is prepared and knows oneself well enough, parties play an important role in a well-rounded college experience. With all of that being said, let’s hear what you all had to say about parties at the 5Cs this week.

In response to the question “How do you feel about the variety and number of 5C events?” eight people (around 28% of responders) said “I’m happy with the number and variety of them,” two people (around 7%) said “[T]here are not enough events for people who are substance-free,” three people (around 10%) said “[T]here are not enough events that are inclusive towards all identities,” six people (around 21%) said “[T]here are not enough events” and seven people (around 24%) said “[T]here are enough events, but for various reasons I do not feel comfortable at them.” There are not any particularly surprising or astounding numbers in these statistics, but I will touch on the most popular responses that are also the most notable.

Eight respondents expressed their contentment with the 5C party scene, which makes sense; as students in a consortium with many parties each and every weekend, we truly are spoiled in comparison to students at other schools. Talking to friends at other schools of equitable size, I have learned that their typical weekend is a small get-together in somebody’s room, with drinking confined to a small space and people turning in relatively early. A night in Claremont most often consists of multiple get-togethers, across many of the campuses and with countless faces to soak in. There are parties of many shapes and sizes, ranging from a squished and crowded dorm room in North Quad to a wild mosh pit in Dom’s to a trippy dance party on the porch of the Grove House. The wide array of parties caters to people of varying interests and varying goals when they venture out into this landscape. Our schools do a pretty good job of providing us with plentiful weekend activities on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. However, there are drawbacks.

"Parties exist as a concentrated sample of the larger student population and therefore would reinforce many of the exclusionary and problematic attitudes that exist on these campuses,"

Seven people, a sizable amount considering that the sample size was 29 students, said that there are enough of these parties but they do not feel comfortable at them. I can undersand these people, as situations can get pretty uncomfortable when you’re simultaneously touching ten different bodies and the music is pounding and you have to force your way through couples grinding in order to get to your best friend. Lighting is often dark, so your sight (in addition to your hearing) is diminished, and you’re surrounded by hundreds of strangers. This leads to situations ranging from mildly uncomfortable to abusive and dangerous— and whether these acts take place or not, the threat of them is enough to put anyone on edge.       

I do not think the party conditions are to blame for this issue of endangered safety. Sexual assault is nobody’s fault besides the perpetrator, and with a revolution in how people view themselves and other human beings and boundaries in terms of space, this situation can begin to be remedied. This is just one of many paths that need to be taken, along with institutional support and community engagement with the problem, but it’s a start. Until then, it is a risk that many people take— heading into the mosh pit in hopes that people treat them with respect and common courtesy.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge the responses in regards to parties not being inclusive and opportunistic enough for people of varying identities and for those who are substance-free. The music and predominant crowd at many of the big parties exclusively appeals to the dominant demographic, with trap music and remixes at the heart of every playlist. The music is just one of the concerns I have heard people voice in terms of the parties not being welcoming to everyone, as many other factors bleed over from the general campus environment. Parties exist as a concentrated sample of the larger student population and therefore would reinforce many of the exclusionary and problematic attitudes that exist on these campuses. This is definitely problematic, but again, I do not think it’s necessarily the party’s fault— it’s evocative of a much larger issue.

In terms of overall takeaways from this survey, there were not many responses. This may be due to the busy second week of classes, the time of day I shared it on Facebook, or other extraneous factors. Or, it may mean that students on this campus do not have many thoughts or problems with the party scene, as it is just one of many other things that make up our well-rounded lives as 5C students. It does not dominate, it is not miniscule in its influence. Hopefully for many it is part of a balanced and healthy life.