Analyzing the Problem of PA Weekends

The week drags on as you try to stay awake during your classes. You can hear the birds chirping from the open window and envy the Seniors relaxing on lawn chairs all day. The week gives way to the weekend and you cannot be happier. What are you going to do with all this time? Go to town and get called a catboner for a day? Or chill in Ryley all night listening to music and talking with friends? Either way, you want to have some fun to make up for a stressful week. Unfortunately, Sunday comes around faster than you can say “party time.” You wonder where the free time went and why you suddenly have loads of homework to do. By Sunday night, you have cursed out your teachers and deemed the “fun” weekend a hysterical joke. Though the directors of the Students Activities Board (SAB) are not completely aware of students’ opinions, they have some ideas about the student feedback on weekend events. Since the SAB is made up of Andover students, it plans events for the weekend with PA students in mind. So when these hard-working students hear that the weekends are terrible, they are helpless. As a new member of the SAB, it is my personal goal to work to help them and everyone else understand the other side of the story. Some students may not know the underground business that goes on in the school organizations, and most students do not know how weekends are planned. The SAB works hard to get students to attend the activities that are offered on the weekends. Cynthia Efinger, the director of student activities, was more than happy to explain the procedures that make the weekend events happen. Every year, Efinger and some board members attend a National Academy for Campus Activities (NACA) conference, which presents possible recreational events for college campuses. Efinger then picks some events that would most likely interest PA students. Every Monday evening when the board meets, the possible events are discussed. The student members choose the activities they feel would be a great hit with the students. After all this decision-making, where is the appreciation? It seems as though the weekend is not there. Sometimes, students do not even glance at the Weekender, the weekly printout that shows the big weekend activities. There are the several main events offered by the SAB, but the rest of the weekend is up to you. It is your choice to find ways to have fun on the weekend. The SAB office allows students to borrow board games and video game consoles for their comfort at their dorms. Plus, the board is always open to suggestions and students can send the board e-mails. The problem is that students don’t care enough to voice their opinions. Most of the students do not make an effort to turn their complaints into effective actions. Like Efinger said, “The office is always encouraging ideas from non-board members too. There’s always room for new and fresh ideas for better weekends.” The SAB is not slacking off on the job. Then why are weekends such failures? It seems that the only thing that distinguishes them from weekdays is the absence of teachers. When asked about Ryley dances, Efinger replied, “There is not a dance every weekend, but kids complain anyway. They love the darkness and intimate closeness of Ryley dances. The Borden dances usually do not get a big crowd compared to Ryley.” She cannot understand why the kids attend events and complain about weekends. I talked with students to understand. Annie Boylan ’07, a current SAB member, said, “Although there is a variety for different kids, students get bored with being on campus all the time.” Obviously, living in a bubble has its effects on a person’s partying. Boylan also said that some Ryley dances are not successful when professional DJs replace student DJs. Students feel more comfortable requesting favorite songs from a DJ they know. Brenna Liponis ’10 and Rachel Reinauer ’07 both agreed that teachers give too much work on the weekends, expecting the students to have more time to do the work. Unfortunately, this means that there will be a smaller crowd at weekend events. Liponis and Reinauer also said that events are repetitive and not very entertaining anyway. When teachers give us extra homework on the weekends, it affects our attitudes towards the weekends. It is definitely difficult to enjoy yourself at a dance when you are worried about homework. If this is the cause of the weekend malady, the Students Activities Board can relax a little now. Think there is another reason why the weekends are a bummer? The rest of the school and I are all ears.