On Friday, April 30, many students were looking forward to the Dandelion Day they never got. Given last year’s pandemic-induced cancellation, sophomores hadn’t experienced a D-Day before.
This year, Wilson Commons Student Activities had an array of activities planned, many of which were new in hopes of encouraging engagement and preventing off-campus parties from turning into superspreader events.
In an email to the Campus Times, Assistant Director of Programming Jill Wulfenstein said they tried to offer “the same traditional Dandelion Day events while adding some new and exciting things!” Activities included carnival rides, cosmic golf, laser tag, roller skating, yoga, student performances, bubble soccer, take-and-make crafts, tie-dye, lawn games, and more. One of the more exciting events happening this year would have been the hot air balloon, but it was cancelled due to wind.
“The hot air balloon was what I was looking forward to the most,” first-year Lucy Keffler said, who participated in most of the activities. She added that the food trucks were “the only good thing about D-Day.”
“But even that was a flop,” she added, having stood in line for two hours before realizing that the truck was out of food.
The most noticeable addition to this year’s D-Day was the accommodation of NYS COVID-19 guidelines. According to Wulfenstein, activities were much more spread out across Fauver Stadium, Library Lot, and the Fraternity Quad. Another change was that there was no headlining concert, although there were featured student bands and DJ’s on the quad.
Additionally, many events were virtual to allow for remote student participation. There was a remote give-away and activities such as a virtual murder mystery and virtual late night bingo.
Despite the effort to make the day safe and exciting, many students expressed their disappointment due to the weather and impending finals season, made worse by only a two-day reading period over next weekend.
“I thought it sucked,” sophomore Jason Salmanowitz said. “The weather was awful, and the food truck lines translated to lots of wasted money. But those are my only complaints. Overall, I just did not feel a vibe.”
Sophomore Rachel Rountree expressed a similar sentiment. “It was cold, but fine,” she said.
Many students stayed home entirely. Junior Sichoe Tsethar said she didn’t go to campus at all. “I spent D-Day in my room stressing about finals.”
Despite the weather and COVID-19 restrictions, many students who waited in lines for the food trucks in wind and hail said that they made friends and were glad to see people.
“D-Day is cursed, but at least I made a friend while freezing to death,” sophomore Jerome Daniels said.
“Yeah, can’t wait until next year’s D-Day. Maybe it won’t feel like purgatory with better weather and without a pandemic,” Keffler added with a wink. “It can only go up from here.”
Melanie Earle contributed to the reporting of this article.