The long-standing tradition of Midnight Madness has come to an end. The initial shock of such a popular event coming to such an abrupt halt results in anger and disappointment. For many years, it has been something to look forward to in the weeks leading up to the mother-of-all events, Pumpkin Fest. It was one of the most important school events during first semester, eclipsed only by Pumpkin Lobotomy. Students crowd into the Spaulding Gym to watch the madness unfold. Even waiting in line with your friends for free t-shirts became something of a social event. Students seemed to enjoy celebrating the basketball team and the start of the winter sports season; it was something the whole campus could get behind.
Because of the popularity of Midnight Madness, it’s sad to think of it as ending, but in reality, the end had to come sometime. The official reasoning behind the ending of Midnight Madness is financial. Recent budget cuts have eliminated the student government and Student Center funds that pay for Midnight Madness. Student government provided the $6,500 dollars for the t-shirts given away and the Student Center provided funds for the events that went on during Midnight Madness, including providing the DJ, the space for the event, maintenance, and other behind-the-scenes aspects. Tremendous amounts of money are also spent backing up the prizes for contests; free tuition, meal plans, and even $10,000 have all been prizes for various contests in the past, and these costs add up quickly.
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While the cost will remain the real cause of the end of Midnight Madness, there were other problems as well. The biggest problem with Midnight Madness was not the cost, but its popularity. Much like Pumpkin Fest, in recent years Midnight Madness has become more about the drinking and the partying than the actual event itself. Midnight Madness turned into a celebration of getting drunk with your friends as opposed to celebrating the basketball team. Disorderly and intoxicated students caused problems, distracting from the purpose of the event itself. The event was far too out of hand in terms of size and the unruliness of its participants; it would have continued to be a serious liability for everyone.
When an event becomes notorious for its debauchery and not its original intent, it’s time to bring the event to an end. Once you look at the size and the problems associated with Midnight Madness, finances aside, it’s not hard to see why the end came. There are plenty of students who are going to be able to look back fondly over their times at Midnight Madness and be glad they had the opportunity to partake in the craziness.