The Collegian
Thursday, July 09, 2020

University plans to re-allocate pig roast funds for more inclusive events

<p>Two fraternity lodges on Old Fraternity Row.&nbsp;</p>

Two fraternity lodges on Old Fraternity Row. 

The University of Richmond has celebrated one weekend in April with a fraternity-sponsored day of drinking and barbecue for decades. But not this year.

UR canceled its 2020 Pig Roast in January citing the lack of participation and high expenses after changes in national fraternity rules.

The annual event would normally start in the morning and end in the afternoon on a Saturday in early April, with students celebrating near the fraternity lodges throughout the day. 

Pig Roast had one-third of its usual participation last year after fraternity rules changed at the national level from the North American Interfraternity Conference, said Meg Pevarski, associate director of Greek Life.

The new rules affected all events with alcohol that fraternities would sponsor on campus, including events at fraternity lodges. These rules added more restrictive guest list policies, more risk management members at each lodge and different rules to keep tabs on drinks per person at these events. 

UR spent an estimated $24,000 to $28,000 on Pig Roast last year, according to a statement from Center for Student Involvement Director Alison Keller. 

This spending included a tent with a stage, DJ and food in the parking lot near Fraternity Row as well as UR Police Department staffing costs and events management resources from RMC Events, an events management company the school uses for many large school events including football games and concerts, Pevarski said.

“We are looking to embrace new traditions and be good stewards of our resources,” she said. “Given a lot of the national changes regarding risk management from a … NIC perspective, the event had changed, and so it was no longer a university tradition that could be open for everyone. So we’re not doing it.”

The main sticking point for an event like Pig Roast was the new guest list policy that allowed only three guests per fraternity brother, making the event more exclusive than it had ever been previously.

UR still plans on using those thousands of dollars saved from Pig Roast on large-scale student events, according to a statement from Vice President of Student Development Steve Bisese. 

“The money saved from Pig Roast will be reallocated towards new, creative, dynamic types of programming, unable to be done previously,” Bisese wrote. “Recently, I have also committed additional funding to the SOBAC (Student Organization Budget and Appropriations Committee) process to be prioritized and distributed to recognized student organizations.”

There is no plan currently from UR to host an event on the weekend of Pig Roast as a replacement, Pevarski said. But there may be off-campus fraternity sponsored activities just as there could be on any other weekend. 

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UR is one of the last schools in the area to end this kind of day drinking event, Pevarski said. 

The University of Virginia stopped the tradition of “Easters” in 1982 after student protests, an event that was dubbed the “best party in America” by Playboy Magazine in the 1970s. James Madison University’s annual Springfest celebration was canceled after riots in 2010 in which 30 students were arrested. 

But it did not take protests or student arrests to discontinue Pig Roast at UR. 

Mir Sultan, who is the Richmond College Student Government Association senior class president and also a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, saw the event change significantly from his first year until this year’s cancellation. In his time, it was an event that brought together a large swatch of students and alumni whether or not they were involved in Greek Life.

“We need more of those kinds of events where the whole student body can come together, and Pig Roast is one of them,” Sultan said.

Sultan said he would still like to have an event this April, even if just for seniors, along the lines of Toga Social in the fall. 

“Unanimously one thing the whole student [government] has known we have to do is like definitely organize more social events,” he said. “It’s not set in stone but we’re trying to do something around the last few weeks of this semester.”

Students will wait to see where the money saved will go for Greek organizations, student clubs and any other university sponsored events. 

Contact news contributor Connor Evans at connor.evans@richmond.edu.

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