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Students celebrating at the 1969 Spring-In.
The spring weekend festivities started in the 1960’s, but had begun to change to meet the new decade. The April 22, 1970 edition of The Stylus reported on some of these changes, and what the spring weekend of that year would entail. The weekend started Friday, April 24 and strayed from the usual spring formal dance. The formal had become increasingly unpopular and expensive over the years, so the school decided to eliminate the dance and replace it with more exciting activities that would appeal to all the students.
Friday night became "Movie Nite" in the Blue Room at Edwards Hall. Such movies as "100 Rifles" and "Daddy’s Gone A Hunting" would be shown several times during the evening and admission was free. There was also a Honky Tonk held in the Union that the students could attend at no personal cost.
Saturday of Spring Weekend was celebrated at Hamlin Beach State Park. Students were invited to attend a picnic at the West Bluff Pavilion where food would be served that would be deducted from their meal plans. However, students were also required to bring their own beer for this event. That night there was a beer blast in Harrison Hall where the popular band RUSTIX entertained. Admission was $1.50 and each beer cost $.35.
Spring Weekend concluded with performance from the up-and-coming band "Mountain." John B. Sebastian of "Lovin’ Spoonful" was the special guest. The concert cost $3.00 and promised to be the most successful concert in Brockport history. The day culminated in a viewing of the acclaimed movie, "Planet of the Apes" starring Charleton Heston in the Blue Room.
Over the years, Spring Weekend attracted the name "Spring-In" and became a much-anticipated end of the year celebration for the Brockport students. Spring-In became synonymous with an extended drunken celebration and student Sandy Hayden wrote a poem about it for the 1971 Stylus.
"There they were-
Trucks of Genesee
With outside taps
That made them look like metal cows.
Little paper pails
Caught the foamy liquid
That was rapidly consumed raw by
A flood of people-
All intent in joy."
During this time period, the drinking age was only eighteen and so the majority of the students could partake in the events. The Student Activities Board had budgeted Spring-In and so free beer was offered to the students. In early 1978, the SAB announced some new guidelines to be followed for that year’s celebration. To make things more safe and orderly, no glass would be allowed in the mall area. There would only be one beer truck that would fill pitchers, and lines would have to be established at the trucks for people to be served. The four beer trucks would be spread throughout the campus to help eliminate congestion and chaos, and there would be two concession areas that would serve hot food and subs. The Spring-In celebrations of this period were days full of lounging around the mall, socializing, and drinking to mark the end of another completed year.
Picture of a beer truck from Spring-In 1971.
In September of 1978, the Stylus reported the possibility of the cancellation of Spring-In due to the altered academic calendar. The semester ended two weeks early that year and the Student Activities Board feared that weather would be poor and the event would not be successful. The student body was outraged and several student leaders suggested the campus hold a Fall-Out to be held that semester in place of the Spring-In. However, with only four days notice for the event, SAB decided not to fund Fall-Out, much to the students’ dismay.
But, Spring-In was held in the last week of April 1979, and it was newly designed and more planned out than previous celebrations. The crowd was estimated at between 5,000 and 8,000 people over the ten-hour event. One of the many changes was that no free beer was provided. In the past, the Brockport Student Government (BSG) had spent about $6,000 on kegs; however, this year they shelled out $23,762 for many bands and provided a concert-like atmosphere. A total of six bands, including Don Potter, The Voltage Brothers, nrbq, Aztec Two Step, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and the Todd Hobin Band provided musical entertainment for the student body. Comedian Chris Rush also performed his comedy routine in between some of the bands. Spring-In was held on a hill behind Stage XVI (a now defunct dorm) rather than in the mall where it had been held in years past. Although BSG worked hard to change many aspects of Spring-In, there were still several reports of fights, vandalism, and injuries that accompanied the celebration.
A band performs at the 1969 Spring-In
The last Spring-In was held the following year, in 1980. BSG spent $40,000 on this event which attracted thousands of students from the entire Rochester area, including high school students. Spring-In was held during the week, and as a result enrollment was down at local colleges and Brockport High School because so many students chose to attend the event. An article appeared in the Democrat and Chronicle in spring of 1981, which noted that Spring-In had been cancelled due to lack of funds. However, a Stylus article on April 30, 1982 remarked that Spring-In was in fact eliminated because of a combination of increasingly expensive costs, alcohol and drug abuse, and bad press coverage.
SUNY Brockport tried to maintain some of the festivities associated with Spring-In by starting the "May-Fest." This event was held in Commissary Park and the distribution of alcohol was discussed, but ultimately rejected as a feature of this new celebration. President John Van de Wetering said, "We should make this a non-alcoholic event and we hope thereby that we can contribute significantly to the improvement of our image as a party school."
This outdoor festival included such acts as a mime and a ventriloquist. Students also put on performances to demonstrate their individual talents. Many contests were held including male/female wet-t-shirt contests, raft races, hot dog eating contests, and male/female best legs contests among many others. This celebration was designed to show the students could have a good time without the presence of alcohol, and to relieve end of semester tension.
Students in the mall at the 1977 Spring-In