BY KASEY SPRINGSTEEN
“A student ran past the Meredith windows covered in paint and left a body print on one of the windows. The student wasn’t wearing any clothes,” said David Wright, a long-time Drake journalism professor.
In his 30 years at Drake, he’s had a lot of memorable times during Relays week, the ‘painted streak’ the most memorable of them all. His kids, young as they were at the time, were there in his Meredith office to witness the display. He thought the incident was fun, and his children laugh at the colorful memory.
Drake Relays has long been an event bringing fantastic athletes and innumerable fans to Drake University. It is also known on campus as a fun event where students can make some of their favorite memories while at Drake.
However, some students choose to drink during this week–and not always a safe amount. This reputation has not gone unnoticed by professors.
Wright said that Relays “can be a much-needed release for students.” He said he understands that Relays can be a fun experience for students.
“Almost all colleges and universities have some sort of ‘spring release’ where students can let go and just have fun, and this is Drake’s,” he said.
However, he is worried about the pre-gaming and binge-drinking of students at these events.
“Most students need to learn their limits,” he said. “Often they drink to the point where it simply isn’t safe.”
Drinking has a collection of repercussions, one of which is poor performance in classwork. Lisa West, a professor in the Drake English department, understands Relays has a large impact on students’ coursework.
“It creates a bump in student productivity. It can be difficult to get students motivated for the last weeks of class,” West said.
Most years, there is only one week of classes after Relays, but this year, there will be two weeks. Both Wright and West are interested to see how student productivity will be impacted.
West pointed out that not all professors see Relays as another break for students. They are still responsible for any assigned coursework, and she, along with other faculty members, believes there is no excuse for skipping classes or turning in late assignments. West also sees a lot of potential dangers involved with Relays.
“With the events and all of the potential drinking that takes place, there is also a potential for more cases of sexual assault or issues of that sort,” she said.
West would like to see more focus on academic events and bring focus to the amazing lectures Drake hosts every year.
Even in recognition of the issues accompanying Relays, both Wright and West see Drake Relays as a wonderful campus event that has many great effects.
They stressed how amazing all of the athletes are and how special it is for Drake to host this event.
And to all who wish to celebrate and “let go,” they want to make sure students are doing so in a safe and responsible manner.