April 27, 2011

Preparing for Flunk Day 2011

Given Knox students’ obsession with figuring out when Flunk Day is, one would think that keeping the date a secret would be stressful. For the Flunk Day planners, though, it’s part of the fun.

“Most people are mad when you don’t tell them the date, but it’s fun-mad,” senior Flunk Day planner Martha Baumgarten said.

That there will be lots of speculation about the date is pretty much the only constant with Flunk Day. The planners work to ensure that each year has something new to offer. The first step is coming up with a theme.

“We started talking at the very end of last year. We basically had the theme by then,” senior Flunk Day planner Britt Anderson said. “We try to go for really broad themes. The theme is Pure Imagination; that can encompass anything.”

Flunk Day planners are chosen from among the members of Union Board. They include the senior and junior coordinators as well as one additional junior and senior. This year, the planners include Anderson, Baumgarten, junior Celestina Agyekum and junior Jack Moore.

To come up with ideas for events and activities to have on Flunk Day, Knox sends the planners to the annual National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) convention, which showcases novelties and activities that can be brought to campus.

“Students spend a couple of days there walking around and getting ideas and seeing what’s available that fits the theme and would work well at Knox,” Assistant Director of Campus Life Jil Gates said.

After attending the NACA convention and brainstorming ideas, the planners start to narrow down the list to what is feasible on a $40,000 budget.

“It’s hardest when you have a good idea and there’s no way to make it happen,” Anderson said. “I probably have nine crazy ideas for every one realistic idea.”

The planners also try to make sure that Flunk Day will include something for everyone, from the athletically-oriented to the artistic to the bystander, so that everyone can enjoy the day.

During winter term, Flunk Day planners make a list of major campus events in preparation for picking the date of Flunk Day. They also look at weather predictions and input from senior administrators.

“In the end it’s kind of arbitrary once we get major conflicts out of the way,” Anderson said.

“It’s intuition, I guess,” Baumgarten added.

Although keeping the date a secret is generally not difficult for the planners, stress comes from plenty of other sources. Between the possibilities of injuries on carnival rides, the amount of alcohol consumed on Flunk Day and the weather, there are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong.

“You’re executing a 1,400 -person event that alumni and faculty want to go well,” Baumgarten said. “There are safety concerns. I had Flunk Day nightmares about two nights ago.”

Still, planning Flunk Day is an experience Anderson and Baumgarten wouldn’t trade.

“You’re planning the most awesome event ever,” Baumgarten said. “On Flunk Day, knowing you did all of that is awesome.”

Although Baumgarten and Anderson could not reveal much about the details of the event, they did confirm one thing: when it comes to Flunk Day, expect the unexpected.

“There’s very little that’s set in stone about Flunk Day,” Baumgarten said. “People say, ‘oh, it’s always this way.’ There’s nothing that’s ‘always this way’ about Flunk Day.”

Flunk Day t-shirts will be on sale until Flunk Day for $10 in the Campus Life Office.

Anna Meier

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