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2012 Spring Issue 2 (April 13, 2012)

Mai Fete returns with new alcohol policy

April 13, 2012
By Kaitlyn Gerber

Despite some concerns about its vitality as a springtime Carleton tradition due to changes in the College’s alcohol policy, Mai Fete successfully returned this Wednesday night.

Around 50 students gathered on Lyman Lakes Wednesday as they chatted, ate pizza and sipped beers around a camp fire on the beloved man-made island. Student hosts shut things down without incident. Security was not called.

In the couple weeks leading up to this Wednesday, some students worried that the new rules against kegs and public containers would threaten the weekly tradition, which have typically involved student hosts buying kegs for the event.

That was never in the cards, Assistant Director of Student Activities Nadine Sunderland said.

Each year the College holds a training meeting for seniors interested in hosting a Mai Fete date. Other than the new alcohol rules, this year’s meeting was the same as those in past years.

“All of the policies regarding hosting at Mai Fete are the same this year as they have been for the past two years,” Sunderland said. “We are working with students so they are in compliance with the alcohol policy put in place last year by the college.”

Under the new policy, students may not have any kegs or common containers of alcohol (such as punch bowls or garbage cans) on campus unless they register their event in advance through Student Activities or Residential Life, and ensure that the alcohol is served by a third-party vendor, such as Bon Appetit.

In other words, students will need to provide cans of beer, rather than kegs, for the event.

“We want to make sure students know what they’re getting into and are aware of local and state laws,” Sunderland said.

“[The meetings] are a chance for them all to meet at once, answer questions and hear each other,” she added.

Around 14 people attended the meeting, Sunderland said. Because students were slow to volunteer as hosts, the Dean of Students office had to send an extra e-mail to invite seniors to host. That’s not uncommon, Sunderland said. All of the available calendar slots have now been claimed.

Student hosts are responsible for setting up and shutting down Mai Fete each night and making sure runs smoothly and safely.

While many students might not know it, the College has traditionally played a role in Mai Fete. The College pays for pizza (with student hosts responsible for covering costs of alcohol) and requires hosts to go through training sessions about social host liability and alcohol education.

First begun in 1918, Mai Fete is the common name for the evening of partying and barbecuing that occurs every Wednesday evening on Mai Fete Island, in the middle of Lyman Lakes. 

For many seniors, Mai Fete is one of the highlights of spring term, providing an opportunity for seniors to come together as a class for their last term at Carleton. Seniors may sign up to host through Student Activities.

“I’m really excited that Mai Fete is back so we can celebrate our last year,” said Jon Aranda ’12.

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