On the cancellation of Celebrate!

Sandra Marks

Dear Campus Community,The Celebrate! festival tradition has been a fixture on campus for the past thirty years and we can all be proud of the manner in which students have come together with the support of the campus and community to hold this annual spring festival. Celebrate! has undergone many changes through the years since its beginnings as an honors project to hold a Renaissance fair. The past few years have been particularly challenging with the advent of mid-term reading period, poor weather, increase and growth in other campus spring events, and competition from other areas festivals and fairs. After much discussion and deliberation, the Celebrate! Committee has made the decision to cancel the 2004 Celebrate! festival. The intent of this decision is not simply to eliminate Celebrate!, but instead to allow students to re-evaluate what is desired in a future campus wide spring festival.

In recent years, the Celebrate! Committee has seen a decline in student interest in Celebrate!. This has been evident in student attendance at the event and in student involvement in planning and producing the event. These trends prompted a campus wide survey following the 2003 Celebrate! festival. Planning for Celebrate! 2004 began in the fall of 2003, with meetings centered on changing the festival to meet the interests voiced by students through a survey conducted last year. Unfortunately, because of limited student involvement, lost revenues from the elimination of certain elements of the festival, and declining community support, it has seemed difficult–if not impossible–to plan an event that reflects significant change from previous Celebrate! festivals. The committee therefore decided to cancel the upcoming Celebrate!. We hope that this decision will allow the needed time to reevaluate and redevelop a spring festival as student interest and participation warrants.

The Celebrate! Committee hopes that the campus understands that this decision was made in the interest of having a spring festival better suited to the needs and interests of the Lawrence community. We hope that particular elements of Celebrate! may become part of other spring events on campus, and that, in the future, students will create something new and special to bring the campus community together. We have begun to explore these alternatives with representatives of various campus organizations and are encouraged by some of the collaboration that seems to be emerging. The Celebrate! tradition has run its course, and it is time to try something new. We are grateful to those students, faculty and staff members who helped make Celebrate! a unique and enduring tradition through the years. As student life continues to evolve and develop, we look forward to the new traditions yet to be conceived.

Sincerely,

Sandra Marks, Chairperson

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