The Video Dance Party, a longtime hallmark of CC’s New Student Orientation, was eliminated from this year’s Winter Start Orientation schedule and its continuation as a campus event has been called into question.
It has not been permanently omitted from the New Student Orientation experience, however, college officials said.
The decision to discard the Video Dance Party from this year’s Winter Start Orientation schedule was due to a concerted effort to focus on the new El Pomar fitness center and the climbing wall.
As scheduling was being tweaked to accommodate these priorities, VDP was identified as a logical event to be removed.
“This year, we had the climbing wall that actually came open at the same time as Winter Start Orientation, so we did something new and did the climbing wall instead of Video Dance Party,” Mike Edmonds, Dean of Students, said. “We tried to incorporate some of the excitement that was going on around El Pomar.”
The Video Dance Party, affectionately nicknamed VDP, typically consists of lots of enthusiastic students in various states of inebriation, mostly dressed in outlandish attire, dancing to popular songs against the backdrop of those songs’ music videos.
Despite the fact that it has not been decidedly abolished, VDP has raised some concerns among campus students and staff. Bethany Grubbs, Student Life Specialist, has noted some aspects of the party that have been perceived by some to be questionable.
“New students may feel pressured to engage in dangerous behaviors when they see their upperclassmen peers heavily intoxicated and having so much fun,” Grubbs said. “We also know that students love VDP, and that many enjoy it responsibly. Many tell us that they feel more connected to the college after VDP night.”
Other concerns include the possibility that VDP sets the tone for a drinking and drug culture on campus and that it may not encourage healthy choices.
“Some students, and others, have voiced concerns about Video Dance Party and the way it introduces people to college life and CC culture,” Edmonds said. “The last few years, it has [become] a sort of…event that brings out some behavior that may not be the best way to introduce college students to campus life.”
However, the Campus Activities department aims to be realistic about the contributing factors and the role school-sanctioned events play in campus nightlife.
“We understand that canceling an event like VDP likely would not help us to avoid heavy drinking behavior in the first few weeks for some of our new students,” Grubbs said. “We have to consider that when students are engaging in risky behavior it can be better for them to do it on our watch.”
Some students, such as senior Hana Sayeed, think the party is typically a positive experience for returning upperclassmen, but that its reputation as an opportunity for older students to get together serves to the detriment of its purpose as a way for new students to adjust to life at CC.
“I love VDP, I think it’s a lot of fun, I think it’s a great reunion for people who are coming back to CC…your senior year, you really look forward to it,” Sayeed said. “But I think it’s kind of more of an event for seniors. I think we should keep VDP, but I think there should be an alternative that’s just for freshmen.”
Other students, including senior Reed Snyderman contend that VDP is actually an event that reinforces a sense of community that transcends grade levels.
“I saw it as an incredible opportunity for both underclassmen and upperclassmen to come together in a…dance, video collaboration of ideas and intermingling between classes, to say, ‘We are CC’ as part of freshman identity,” Snyderman said.
P.J. Higgins, a junior, even sees the event as an opportunity for retrospective contemplation.
“Really, I feel like it’s a referendum on your growth as a student at CC, every year you go and you see how you’ve changed,” he said. “Freshman year, you’re in one place, sophomore year you go back and you’ve got an entirely new perspective, it was really a good way to keep track of your growth as a person.”
Edmonds emphasized that VDP is not being targeted as a singular event, but is part of a multifaceted campus activities schedule that is constantly being scrutinized and reevaluated.
“I’m sure that Video Dance Party, just like a whole bunch of other new student orientation activities, is always getting reviewed, changed, altered, some go away and some don’t,” Edmonds said. “New Student Orientation has been an event for the past many years, so it ebbs and flows, and some years we try something different.”.
Perhaps the sole consensus that can be drawn from the CC community is that VDP allows some truly eccentric modes of artistic expression to emerge.
“It makes me forget how bad of a dancer I am,” Higgins said.