What we know now:

  • Senior apartments can no longer hold parties larger than 33 people.
  • This is due to structural failure.
  • There is a temporary solution with a tent.
  • Student Development needs input on how to make the best changes for the future.

Speculation has been circuling since last fall semester, but the fate of parties in the Sunset Apartments was decided last week.

The “Sunnies” apartments held by senior students, have been the hub of campus partying for many years now, but the buildings are no longer able to support this activity.

After inspection from a fire marshal, there was evidence of structural stress within the buildings. While the apartments are in fine condition for students to continue to live and hold small gatherings in (no more than 33 people), large scale parties must be halted.

Parties on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays can often exceed 100 people a building, depending on how many parties are being hosted. This new rule affects the four Sunnies apartments and the two Brownstone apartments.

However, solutions have been presented. As an immediate remedy to the removal of these party spaces is a temporary tent in the Brownstone parking lot, located down the hill behind the Sunnie and Brownstone apartments.

This tent is inclosed and holds picnic tables, heaters and portable bathrooms. Many groups are being organized to think through where other party spaces can be created, but the tent is the first step in this change.

Of course, the tent has sparked a debate across campus and many are concerned with how this will affect parties on campus. To address concerns, Vice President for Student Development Laurel Kennedy, Dean of Student Leadership and Community Engagement, Erik Farley, Director of Risk Management and Environmental Health & Safety, Steve Gauger and other team members are talking with various organizations to make this the best situation possible, and they need help from students.

The concerns range in the following ways:

  • Party registration and hosting policy will be revised to make it easier for students to register larger parties in the new social spaces. The goal is to keep it far and open for all students and organizations.
  • However, Current policies and systems of registration will remain in place.
  • Locating, building and designing new social spaces. These would be similar to the space in Sunset House, a building next to the four Sunnies. This is part of the master housing plan. The lower level of Chamberlin Hall is currently being developed as one of these spaces in the Spring semester, but it will be alcohol free. Beaver Beach will also become a registerable space with heaters provided on registered nights. Other spaces already in place are Lamson Lodge, Sunset Lodge, Good Lounge, the Nest, Shepardson Lounge, and Knobel Hall.
  • A series of design sessions to bring students together to resolve important questions related to parties and registration. Sign ups ended yesterday to participate, but reach out to Laurel Kennedy if interested for a potential chance to join.


The goal is have new registration policies and approaches for large social spaces ready to pilot by Thanksgiving Break and use the rest of this academic year to test, refine and adjust. This can only work if the students are on board and willing to help.

Administration needs help with the creating answers and solutions to the following questions:

  1.     What are the pros and cons of having Peer Safety Monitors at registered events? What are the goals PSMs achieve? How might we meet those goals in other ways?
  2.     How many people should there be in the official host group for events registered in the social spaces?
  3.     What nights should be “registrable”? Should available nights differ between spaces in residential buildings (eg, Sunset Lodge, Good Lounge) and spaces that are not (eg, Lamson Lodge, the Nest)?
  4.     Does our approach to the use of kegs in social spaces work? How does it relate to other forms of alcohol packaging (cans, bottles)?
  5.     How will reservations of social spaces be managed (lead time, competition for spaces, etc.)?
  6.     How might we design these social spaces to meet the needs of students?

The Red Frame Labe will hold sessions to address these questions on November 4, 5 and 6. All input will be considered and students are highly encouraged to participate. These meetings will decide the future of socialization at Denison.