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Eco-friendlier Slope Day to feature water backpacks, free food and races

Slope Day organizers
Jason Koski/University Photography
Slope Day student organizers pose with one of the water backpacks volunteers will carry to distribute water without having to use water bottles.

Slated for May 4, Slope Day 2012 should be the safest and most fun Slope Day ever thanks to the 400-500 student volunteers of POSSE (People Organizing and Supervising Slope Events) and SlopeFest.

This year, Slope Day, an annual celebration on the last day of classes, again will feature SlopeFest, a carnival held on Ho Plaza and musical performances on Libe Slope. The Wailers, former band of Bob Marley, will open the afternoon concerts, followed by Neon Trees, an alternative rock band. English pop singer and producer Taio Cruz will headline.

POSSE, a student-led subcommittee of the Slope Day Programming Board, that recruits, trains and schedules volunteers and helps in the cleanup effort, will be implementing several changes this year to make the event safer and more eco-friendly.

To reduce water bottle waste, volunteers will carry water backpacks to distribute water and the student organization Take Back the Tap will run tables with cups and jugs of water, said Dylan Rapoport '12, a POSSE student leader.

Student and staff volunteers still needed

With expanded roles and operations, Slope Day organizers report that they need more volunteers than in the past, and still do not have enough to help with Slope Day, including SlopeFest's non-alcohol playful portion of Slope Day. Needed: 15 all-day or 30 four-hour-shift student volunteers, and six to eight staff members to supervise the SlopeFest activities for the day.

"Given the shortage of volunteers we presently have, we fear for the success of the SlopeFest area. SlopeFest cannot jeopardize rented equipment being left out when we do not have enough volunteer staff/students to supervise the different attractions," says David Bell, the adviser for SlopeFest. "Volunteers tend to dwindle as the day rolls on. The attractions are then at risk and will need to be shut down and supplies secured or removed.

"When Slope Day has enough volunteers, the entire day is more successful."

To volunteer, visit

To make the event safer, the POSSE Patrol Team will roam Libe Slope looking for students who might need medical care, raising orange flags to alert emergency teams. An "eagle outpost" will be located over the Uris Library cocktail lounge/fishbowl, where there will be a team of five students keeping an eye out for orange emergency flags. Volunteers at the outpost will also be watching the fences for students who try to jump over. Finally, an open lane will run across the densest areas of the slope for emergency vehicles, said Rapoport.

"The party scene may not be for everyone, but with the efforts of the extremely devoted POSSE leadership, we hope to help make Slope Day an event for everybody," said Mason Brody-Carney '13, a POSSE student leader.

SlopeFest, where everything is free, will feature an array of carnival games, activities and food, including a basketball hoop show, henna tattoos, a cupcake tent, photo buttons and key chains, a soda ring toss, two skee ball machines, cotton candy, Belgian waffles and Krispy Kreme doughnuts and popcorn. New activities include an electronic cow-milking contest and an adult trike race in front of Willard Straight Hall, said David Bell, a program coordinator in the Student Activities Office and the adviser for SlopeFest. In addition, game winners can use tickets they receive to purchase food from a hot truck located on Ho Plaza.

"The most rewarding aspect [of planning Slope Day] is when people throughout the year say how great of a job the volunteers do. It's good to know that what we are doing is making a difference and the help we provide is appreciated," said Brody-Carney.

Dorothy Chan '12 is a writer intern for the Cornell Chronicle.


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