SPB revives a Greek tradition
Colby's fraternity system may be nearing its thirtieth death-day, but yet another one of the College's old Greek traditions is making a comeback in a very legitimate way.
After witnessing the Student Government Association (SGA) successfully revive the old fraternity tradition of Winter Carnival for the second year in a row, the Student Programming Board (SPB) Social Committee co-chair Sam Helm '12 is spearheading the effort to put on the Colby Olympics on April 24, a reincarnation of the old Frat Row Olympics tradition. He hopes to "build off the momentum that [SGA Publicity Chair Ricky Schwartz '11] got started with Winter Carnival."
The Frat Row Olympics remained an annual event long after the fraternity system was abolished in 1984, but no school organization ever took ownership of it as SPB has done for the Colby Olympics. Rather, the event "just sort of happened every year," Helm said, and was put together by "whoever picked it up and ran with it." The Frat Row Olympics have not taken place since the current seniors arrived on campus as freshmen in 2006.
Unlike the Frat Row Olympics, in which only the old fraternity houses on Roberts Row competed, the new Colby Olympics will offer a chance for every dorm on campus to register as a team and compete against the other dorms in events like tug-of-war, an obstacle course and a relay race. Although it is unclear at this point exactly which events will be taking place, the events will be run by iPlay and the dorm with the most victories will be crowned the winner of the Colby Olympics. iPlay is not the only organization on campus that is helping out with the Olympics. Once Helm had put together the final draft of his proposal and the schedule of the events, he e-mailed a copy to leaders of many of the College's most prominent student-led organizations. "Within three days, almost all of them had responded," Helm said. Currently, iPlay, SGA, Colby Volunteer Center (CVC), Pugh Community Board (PCB) and several senior members of Hall Staff have all agreed to help SPB with the event.
"We thought it would be cool to collaborate with a bunch of other clubs on campus and make it a big group collaborative effort instead of just another SPB event," Helm said. Helm sees the event as a "great way to unite campus" not just on the club level, but as a whole student body.
"This is one of the last times that all the classes get to get together before finals and senior week arrive," he said. The Johnson Pond Regatta will also be held on April 24 in conjunction with the Olympics. SPB was unable to hold the event in the fall because, in recent years, the regatta has spurred algal blooms that have had significant negative effects on the pond's ecosystem. This spring, however, PCB will work with the Physical Plant Department to put in docks and ensure that similar problems don't arise.
Helm said that cementing the Colby Olympics as a new tradition is "the ideal goal," but admitted that "right now we've got to get this year put together before we start thinking about upcoming years."
Helm said the Colby Olympics are important because, "it enhances our Colby identity; it gives us a tradition. It feels like in recent years some traditions have lost their momentum."
Helm hopes to keep the momentum he builds this year alive for the future. "Between all the groups involved there are about 160 kids. If we can get 160 kids working on something like this together then we're going to have a solid group of people to keep it going next year."