Columbia Daily SpectatorFebruary 14, 2001
By the Spectator Managing Board
Columbia Daily Spectator
Orgo Night and Tradition Nine months ago at the end of the spring semester, over 1,000 students piled into Butler Library, many over the protests of security, to participate in Columbia's most raucous evening, Orgo Night. It was a beginning of the end of what has been a long-standing tradition at Columbia. After last spring's overcrowded fiasco, the Administration told the Columbia University Marching Band that it could only hold the celebration in the library if the audience was limited to 250 students. Then, during the fall semester's exam period, a disappointing Orgo Night went afoul when disgruntled students were evacuated from the library after a mysterious fire alarm. It was an indication that the Orgo Night Columbia students knew and loved, the one that brought together the community in a way few events could, would be forever changed. Traditions are essential to the college atmosphere. They engender a student body with a sense of community and provide memories that alumni can recall fondly. At many schools, students rally around athletic teams, but in New York City--a city of many distractions--concentrated school spirit is a rarity. Columbia should seize every opportunity it encounters to stimulate a sense of community. Issues of student safety and property preservation are important, and the Administration was right to recognize the danger of cramming so many people into a space capped by the fire department at 250. But we sincerely hope that the Administration's concerns were genuine, and not just another chapter in the ongoing feud with the marching band that it has questionably opposed in the past. Traditions hold an important place at a school like Columbia, where students are relatively uninvolved in community-building events. Orgo Nights were the two nights a year when students, exhausted and stressed about studying, forgot to be cynical. Columbians joined together in choruses of ''Roar, Lion, Roar,'' and, for a brief moment, Columbia was a united community rather than a body of individuals. We will be sad to see the passing of Orgo Night as a late-night library tradition, and we hope another, equally inspiring tradition will grow up its place.