With one week before final exams, Stony Brook students were e-vited to party on Friday in a last “hoorah” for the spring semester.
Facebook pseudonym Sterling Von White dubbed the gathering “New Stony Brook Drinking Tradition, All Day Beach Party.” The ambiguous character informed students that the event encompassed nonstop drinking (in class, in the food courts, etc.) and large gatherings, notably on the Staller Steps and later in Tabler Quad.
In his event post on Facebook, Von White also encouraged students to dress up, suggesting that costumes could range from bathing suits to “f**king sea beast attire” in an effort to “turn this campus into a tropical getaway. Or at least, a drunken boardwalk.”
At first glance on Friday afternoon, it appeared that Stony Brook students had failed to take the event seriously. With more than 2,000 students who had been e-vited and nearly 1,000 guests who had confirmed that they would be participating, it was a disappointing sight to see only a few sober-looking students lounging on the Staller Steps in the afternoon. There wasn’t a single sea beast costume in sight.
It looked as though the event had been overshadowed by the highly anticipated Roth Regatta and American Red Cross Spring Fling.
Upon closer inspection, students had taken to celebrating — but in a quieter way than what Von White had suggested. Pepsi cups and water bottles were filled with mixed concoctions that students discreetly drank while cheering on their favorite boats or waiting on the lines at the carnival.
If asked, many admitted to hearing about the event, but not wanting to congregate on campus.
“Everyone is participating but it’s hidden in bottles, nobody’s doing it blatantly,” said junior John Vigoa.
The mysterious Von White, who in an email declined to be interviewed in order to further conceal his identity, failed to take the popular events of the day into account, but students simply married the two concepts.
Courtney, a sophomore, and Amanda, a freshman, both of whom asked not to have their last names identified, said they had started drinking at 11:30 a.m. to celebrate the new event while also watching the Roth Regatta. The two young women wanted to take part in the drinking festivities but had no interest in being part of a congregation that they figured would be broken up shortly after starting. Instead, they planned on attending an off-campus party later that night.
Many seemed to have the same mentality as the Tabler Quad party ultimately became a low key event as news of off-campus ragers became frequent. By 11 p.m., a mere two dozen students could be found drinking beer at the picnic tables outside of the Tabler Arts Center. Some wore swimming trunks and sweatshirts, a few girls shivered in their shorts and flip-flops.
One student could be heard screaming, “It’s cold and nobody’s doing anything!” as he stumbled away.
Others stuck it out, and by 12:30 a.m., the party had reached a gathering of approximately 80 people. The response remained underwhelming.
“It was too thrown together,” said sophomore John Mackey, who came to the party from Kelly Quad. “There needs to be more participation, and a DJ would have been clutch.” Mackey made note of the clusters of people who seemed to only be socializing within small cliques in the dark and without the social lubricant of music.
The most excitement the crowd faced over the course of the evening came shortly after, when six police officers chased the students off the lawn as they screamed, “Run, Forrest, run!”
Von White could not be located to comment on the day’s events, but students remained optimistic.
“I think it was a good idea,” junior Nate Epstein said. “I respect anyone who tries to start a drinking tradition on this campus.”