A changed approach to the Last Day of Classes resulted in an overall safer event, administrators said.
The LDOC committee planned this year’s event with the goal of making the whole day—not just the concert—filled with activities, with the hope of improving student safety, said LDOC committee co-Chair Jacob Robinson, a sophomore. The number of medical emergency calls decreased compared to last year, and there were no major conduct issues.
“Our goal this year was to transform the quad and to transform LDOC into a daytime festival—a full-day festival—rather than just a drunken concert, and through the hard work of our committee, we were able to do that,” Robinson said.
But Deb LoBiondo, assistant dean for Housing, Dining and Residence Life, said more damage than usual was caused to residence halls on West.
“I have not finished calculating all the damage and excessive cleaning charges, however I will share that in comparison to last year, costs are higher,” LoBiondo wrote in an email Sunday.
She added that Joe Gonzalez, associate dean for residence life, is in the process of acquiring data about East Campus and Central Campus damages but said she suspects excessive cleaning issues or damages on those campuses, as well.
Four students were sent to the hospital in comparison to last year’s two transports, said junior Sasha McEwan, director of operations for Duke Emergency Medical Services, wrote in an email Sunday. Despite this increase, the overall number of EMS calls decreased from 22 in 2011 to 15 this year.
Robinson said the extensive daytime programming, including the silent disco and lineup of student performers, helped to keep students occupied throughout the day leading up to the concert.
Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek said the organization of the day was well-executed and well-received.
“We made another step in the right direction in terms of issues related to the health and safety of LDOC,” Wasiolek said. “A number of students approached me during LDOC and said they really felt it had improved significantly since their freshman year.... It was still a fun, festive, great celebration, but they felt it was a safer, overall better environment for the day.”
This year, wristbands for quadrangle access were issued strictly undergraduate and graduate students, as opposed to previous years when staff and others were granted wristbands.
“The effort to really focus it as a student event made the overall environment more conducive to a healthy and safe event,” Wasiolek said.
Wasiolek noted that the barbecue in Krzyzewskiville was a useful measure taken to combat alcohol-induced illness and provided an opportunity for students to get a meal that may otherwise have been neglected. The barbecue took place during the afternoon when access to the main quad was barred and students were encouraged to move to K-ville.
Security measures and planning were undertaken by both the committee and administrators, Robinson said. The day’s events relied on a collaboration between many student groups.
“We’re thankful for the fact that the administration works with us... and that with a day that means so much to the student body, student representatives and leaders can work to maintain [an atmosphere] that the students like,” Robinson said.
Robinson added that the committee was able to make a sizeable charitable contribution due to LDOC shirt sales. The Duke Student Wellness Center sponsored the cost of the shirts, all of which were sold. All proceeds from shirt sales, which he estimates will be a few thousand dollars, will be donated to the Walltown Children’s Theatre in Durham.
Wasiolek credited the LDOC committee for their careful planning which helped to create a successful event.
“I have to applaud the committee for working all year in a very thoughtful way, particularly in the area of prevention,” she said. “They used great forethought in the scheduling and programming to try to work towards really preventing or reducing risk.”