About a year ago, the Rice Thresher started publishing “Party Patrols,” or reviews of public parties around Rice campus. The content of these sections ranges from silly, unhelpful soundbites to useful feedback that has been and will continue to be incorporated in the construction of Rice’s parties, both public and private, for years to come.
As someone who has been involved with parties at all of the residential colleges for the past four years, I have seen major changes in the public party scene. For instance, attendance at many of the “newer” publics such as Baker Christmas and Y2K has increased, while attendance at some established parties such Night of Decadence has gone down. Social coordinators have shifted from using external DJ’s to hiring student DJ’s who often know more about the Rice community then someone outside of it.
I would argue that a lot of these changes are positive. For example, recently I have been hearing more Pop & Hip-Hop played at parties instead of just EDM, which adds variety and encourages a wider group of people to attend. Additionally, many colleges are only hosting one public per year instead of the usual one per semester, which allows budgets to be concentrated on a single night. However, many of these changes would not be possible had it not been for the continued effort of one of the most underthanked people on campus: college social coordinators.
These individuals, and their team of Freshmen earning service points, are able to put on something incredible while still managing their coursework. Making a college’s commons look like outer space or a Roman festival is not an easy task, and coordinating security, music, power, food, caregivers, alcohol and EMS on top of this is nothing less than daunting. These coordinators, along with their Freshman, do all of this without being paid; their only compensation is seeing people have a good time. Some Socials, such as Rebecca Francis or Bailey Douglass, are some of the hardest working people I have met at Rice, planning their public parties up to six months in advance to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Perhaps seeing it from this angle explains why I sometimes feel frustrated when people say that “X college throws s****y parties.” Shitty parties happen because nobody shows up, and nobody shows up when someone says you have shitty parties. If you do not want to go to a party because “nobody” is going, then you are contributing to the problem.
Is your suitemate DJing? Go and support them for a little bit! Do you want to hear a certain song or type of music? Email your social coordinator or post on the event page. Unlike many clubs and bars outside of campus trying to make money from you, socials only want you to have a good time.
Public parties are not just for Freshman or students trying to get laid. They are for you just as much as anyone else. Do your college a favor and thank your socials coordinators the next time you see them!
-Paul Mayer/DJ FriendZone