By Ryan Morgera:
Each year, the last weekend at school is dedicated toward celebrating Hound Nation that Assumption students call “Pup Cup”. During this time, students come together to celebrate their achievements (as well as the weather) in “The Valley” before finals and the end of the school year. This years “Pup Cup” however, had stricter guidelines and new rules, making Assumption students wonder whether the Assumption Administration and Residential Life took the true meaning out of Pup Cup.
The Valley is a spot on campus where there are 2 buildings made up of twelve, six-person apartments. During Pup Cup each year, students head down to “The Valley” or “6 Men” to celebrate with their classmates. In years past, students under the age of 21 have been able to go to the valley to enjoy Pup Cup. As time goes on however, new guidelines seem to have prevented students from celebrating with other students, which has some very upset.
Some new guidelines implemented this year came in the form of a wristband. All students and guests of students who are 21 years of age or older receive a blue wristband that says “Assumption College Pup Cup” and then lists the number for campus police. Guests of students who are not 21 receive an orange wristband. The College also sent out several emails threatening underage students to stay away from the Valley or else they would receive a minimum of 4 points (Assumption College has a 10 point system where after 10 points you are technically allowed to be kicked off campus or worse, out of school).
While these guidelines do make sense in correlation to the Massachusetts drinking age (21), students under the age of 21 are allowed on this part of campus every other weekend, so students are wondering why this weekend is the only weekend it is enforced. The last weekend at school was always a time for the campus to come together. All grades gathered in the Valley and said their goodbyes to the senior class. Students under the age of 21 were no longer allowed in the Valley, and this had many students upset because it meant they couldn’t hangout with their friends who are 21 years or older.
At Assumption College, a quick poll showed more students didn’t like the policy than students who did. Sophomore Jason Hughes felt, “they got stricter for no reason when there was very little problems last year” when asked what his thoughts were on the topic. Sophomore Sean Lockhart stated there were, “threats of more stringent penalties (that) seemed hollow, less police and res-life presence than last year”. He was surprised. Senior Ryan Wolf felt the wristbands went well for the upperclassmen, but overall he feels, “the idea that pupcup doesn’t allow all grades to hangout for a single weekend is ridiculous.” The weekend prides itself on school spirit and coming together as one, however the wristband policy seems to have only created more division.
An unnamed student said, “the wrist bands just made people scared to hang with friends and get to the valley so they (Assumption College) kind’ve ruined it in a sense”.
Senior Catherine Meyers thinks “that wristbands made it easier for people who lived in six”. She did add, however, that “they didn’t really work and that it was counter productive at times when they still asked for an ID, even though the point of the (wrist) band was to avoid that.”
In the past, students under the age of 21 had no issues getting into the Valley to participate in Pup Cup. Class of 2016 Graduate Thomas Brooks said Pup Cup is, “always the last weekend for students to see our friends of different ages before summer/graduation”. It was also a great way to send off the senior class. When he was told about the new policies which restrict people under 21 from going to the Valley, he stated “younger people not being allowed to be in the valley isn’t fair because they are allowed down there all year. Pup Cup is supposed to be a time to come together, not divide”.
What used to be described as a “fun-filled weekend”, students now describe as “a great weekend to get written up”. Campus Police and Residential Life staff are always on alert and are always watching, making Pup Cup more strictly enforced than a New England Patriots tailgate.
When asked if Assumption College has taken the true meaning out of Pup Cup (coming together as a school), sophomore Sean Lockhart responded, “the school has lost sight of the identity of Pup Cup”. He also feels that Assumption “has subsequently twisted a cherished school event into an embarrassing display of unnecessary oversight and restriction that cause more problems than they prevent.”
Eniang Bassey said, “Yes, Assumption College has taken the true meaning out of Pup Cup.” He then said, “Assumption being so strict with rules and preventing underage students from congregating with their older acquaintances is appalling.” Senior Catherine Meyers thinks, “it took away from all of the school getting to be together for one last weekend together.”
Campus Police had no comment when we reached out to ask if the number of students written up during Pup Cup was higher this year. Campus Police was assisted by paid Worcester Police details throughout the weekend.
I met with Conway Campbell, the Dean of Campus Life at Assumption College. When asked why students under 21 aren’t allowed to the Valley during Pup Cup, he responded, “a few years ago, everybody wanted to go to the Valley. Many of them wanted to consume alcohol, but many of them were underage.” He then went on to say that Assumption “can’t just allow underage drinking outside.” He discussed past years when the Valley had to be cleared out due to a large crowd, many of whom were not 21 years old. “The 21-year-old students in the Valley got frustrated with that, so we decided that it was best we make the Valley only available to students who are of the legal drinking age.”
Dean Campbell felt the wristband policy was a success. He said, “the idea went great”. He discussed last year’s Pup Cup (2016-17) and how only guests were given wristbands. This year, however, “the valley residents had wristbands and of-age students could get them as well.” Issues with the wristbands did arise, such as students ordering look-alike wristbands on Amazon, or even 21-year-old students giving their wristbands to underage students, but “eventually, people were caught” Campbell added.
At the end of the day, students at Assumption College felt the true meaning was taken out of Pup Cup, in that it was a time to celebrate with classmates, but now they feel it is a time of division. The school believes they solved all their problems by adding the wristbands, as Dean Campbell felt that Pup Cup “was awesome”. However, Assumption students seem to be frustrated that Assumption is only getting stricter as time goes on, which leaves them wondering, will Pup Cup ever be like it used to be?