After a week of rain, the sun came out for one of the safest Last Day of Classes celebrations in recent history.
LDOC committee co-chair Brian Buhr, a sophomore, said that LDOC was a success both in terms of performances and safety. Last month, Lil Jon's performance was cancelled because the weather prevented him from finding transportation to campus. However, despite headliner Tory Lanez’s arrest in Florida earlier this month, there were no concerns that artists would not be present for the LDOC concert, Buhr noted.
“I thought it was fantastic, honestly,” he said. “I was blown away by the performances. They all were much better live than I expected.”
In addition to Tory Lanez, this year’s lineup featured pop artist Daya, electronic dance music group Cheat Codes and synthpop band Panama Wedding. Duke Student Government President Riyanka Ganguly, a junior, had positive things to say about the concert and the additional programming.
“I had a lot of fun,” Ganguly wrote in an email. “Tory Lanez really focused on not just promoting his music but pleasing the crowd and making it a fun concert. Silent disco is always my favorite part though.”
Based on a wellness report from the Wellness Center, Buhr noted that only two students were transported from LDOC for health-related issues, which was the “lowest report rate in the history of LDOC.” He added that the LDOC committee tried to ensure safety through their partnerships with the Wellness Center and the Women’s Center, which trained the volunteers in identifying problematic situations and how to prevent them.
“One of our major concerns was making sure that everyone was safe,” Buhr said. “Every single year, we know that LDOC is a major celebration, but we want it to be a safe event too that everyone can be proud of. I think that we did a good job of ensuring that this year.”
Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, could also be seen walking around West Campus Wednesday. He noted in an email that he “loved LDOC” and that he was proud of students’ behavior.
“I thought the whole day was fun, communal and responsible,” Moneta wrote. “I was very pleased with students' respect for each other, responsible use of alcohol and comfortable and careful use of West Union. It was so cool to see West Union so lively, and I applauded the restaurants there for working extremely hard to feed the very hungry students throughout the building. My proudest moment was seeing students clean the Abele Quad after the event rather than just leave the bottles and cans strewn all over the lawn for housekeeping staff to pick up.”
In addition to the concert, the LDOC committee planned other activities, such as inflatables, airbrush tattoos and bubble soccer on Abele Quad. Buhr noted that through partnerships with on-campus organizations, they were able to provide entertainment for all types of students.
“LDOC is supposed to be an entire celebration of the Duke community,” Buhr said. “While the concert does get a lot of publicity because a lot of students do enjoy that, we have a lot of other programming on the day of. We work with partners such as the [Center for Multicultural Affairs] and we provide a breadth of diverse programming.”
However, not everyone was pleased. Sophomore Jonah Santiago considered LDOC to be a “pretty bad situation."
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“I feel that LDOC is kind of overhyped and kind of stigmatized as this excuse for students to drink copious amounts of alcohol and essentially just make a mess on campus,” Santiago said.
Others noted the experience was an opportunity to get away from the stress before finals, such as sophomore Soomin Cho, who noted that she had a enjoyable, but tiring time.
“LDOC was a lot of fun. It was nice being able to see all my friends just not stressed out, just having a good time and just enjoying,” she said. “It was definitely a marathon. I got really, really tired by 11 o'clock.”
Vir Patel contributed reporting.