Carnival does not affect professors
By Karna Adam
Published on Friday, February 8, 2013
While students may be looking forward to wintery fun and having no classes during Winter Carnival, professors said they generally do not partake in traditional events and are planning to use the long weekend to travel.
Theater department academic assistant Effie Cummings said she does not attend most Carnival events but enjoys watching students build the snow sculpture. Her favorite remains the Cat in the Hat sculpture constructed for the 2004 Winter Carnival, which marked the 100th birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.
“Students would work hard on bitter, bitter cold days,” she said. “I am always impressed by their dedication and esprit de corps.”
Cummings said that the best Winter Carnival weekends in her memory featured the most snowfall, making the seasonal activities more exciting.
History professor Jennifer Miller said she often visits the Occom Pond Party to watch students ice skate but does not usually attend other events. She said that in addition to canceling class the Friday of Winter Carnival, she does not schedule papers or midterms for the week after.
Miller said the condensed nine-week term and canceled classes affect the structure of her Winter term classes. As a result, Miller said she is forced to cut some material from the syllabus.
“It’s a hard balance because cramming more material into the nine weeks, it’s no guarantee that students will be able to really engage and learn the material,” she said.
The weekend is a “minor blip” for planning classes, visiting government professor Brent Strathman said in an email. Winter term’s shortened schedule already makes him cut potential material, he said.
Visiting associate film professor Bill Phillips said that while he organizes his winter class material slightly differently to accommodate the structure of the term, Winter Carnival does not greatly affect his teaching schedule because his classes tend to take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Many professors interviewed said that students return to class tired and sick after Carnival celebrations. Miller said that this was not unusual, however, for the winter season.
Biology professor Lee Witters said that some students spend the days before Carnival finishing assignments and studying.
“Several years ago in lab, I had had a restless night of sleeping, and I had a lot of work to do,” Witters said. “I woke really early, and I got to the lab at 4 a.m. and found my undergraduate thesis student working, and she said, ‘I need to get this work done, so I can party for the rest of the weekend.’”
Phillips said that when he was at the College 40 years ago, students were not as excited to participate in College-sponsored events, including Carnival festivities. Some students even mocked the weekend, he said.
“It was a very different time,” Phillips said. “In keeping with that, we weren’t really crazy in keeping Winter Carnival what it had been.”
In the past, students objected to Carnival weekend for its historically sexist nature, he said.
“[Carnival] doesn’t have the same sexist overtones as it had in the 1940s,” Phillips said.
Students would take advantage of the Hanover Country Club golf course’s ski jump, but this changed after a student was pushed down the ramp in a baby carriage and died, Phillips said.
Since his days as a student, Phillips said that the Carnival has evolved into a more respectable event. As a professor, however, he usually leaves Hanover for the weekend, he said.
Biology professor Robert Gross and associate sociology professor Kathryn Lively said they also do not usually attend Carnival events.
While most students do not have classes the Friday of Carnival weekend, theater students may have to prepare for their upcoming performance and attend rehearsals, Cummings said. Some students schedule Carnival-related pieces for Friday in order to attract larger crowds, she said.