Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Legacy of Change

The time we spent at Vanderbilt (1969-1973) was a period of significant change.

It was when the University first gave permission for women to live off campus, when it first allowed parietals (visits in dorm rooms by the opposite sex) and opened its first co-ed dorms. It was also when semester exams were given for the first time before Christmas and when the Greek rush period for freshmen was moved to second semester.

All these changes, made well over 30 years ago, have endured to become a routine part of University life. That also includes an event happening this weekend (April 18-19) on Alumni Lawn called Rites of Spring.

In fact, Rites of Spring has become a major annual music festival on campus, much larger in scope than the music on the Lawn and the simple displays on Rand Terrace when we were in school (as seen in the photo above from Spring, 1971).

What are your memories of Rites of Spring? Or playing touch football on Alumni Lawn? What about the times you spent out on Rand Terrace, studying, doing homework (if you did those things) :) or just enjoying the sunshine or people watching? How about going to the C Room? Or the Bookstore? Please leave your comments below.

Not a lot has changed around Rand Terrace or Alumni Lawn. Oh sure, there is a nice Student Center nearby, which we never had, but the overall look and feel of the campus in this area is much the same now as it was in our day. You can experience that for yourself when you come back for our 35th Class Reunion the weekend of October 24-25. You have to be there!

Now there are some things have changed from our day. Remember Freaky Fridays? How about Intersession between first and second semester? What about the Free University of Nashville? All gone as far as I know. As I mentioned before, even Rites of Spring has evolved quite a bit.

There's now an admission charge ($15 for students, $35 for campus visitors with weekend passes ranging from $45-$55). Of course the music is different with groups such as Spoon, Lil John, Feist and Old Crow Medicine Band set to perform (don't ask me, ask your kids who these groups are).

Rites of Spring also has official food vendors (Mountain Jim's Ice Cream and Chick-Fil-A) and even official sponsors (F.Y.E., Scion and Apple).

It also has a very strict alcohol policy, mandating that all 21-year-old and older guests can bring no more than six twelve ounce cans of beer with them each day. They strictly check IDs and give out color-coded bracelets to under age students (which I think change each day) to make sure nobody's drinking who shouldn't be. ( I wonder if Dean Potter and Dean Sandlin ever thought about things like this?). I'm sure it would have made our first Rites of Spring a little different, not to mention the 1972 Grateful Dead Concert on Alumni Lawn.

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