Cupid’s wings clipped: COUP moved to March 2
Display of the COUP fundraising art. Left image by Alexandra Denner. Right image by Riley Bucklin. Photo courtesy of Beaux Delaune.

Cupid’s wings clipped: COUP moved to March 2

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The New College campus is no stranger to student-hosted parties, namely Walls, Center of the Universe Parties (COUP) and everything in between. Conventionally, the Spring semester  includes both a Valentine’s Day COUP and a Graduation COUP. This year things seem to be going differently.

Based on the unspoken assumption that the next COUP would take place near Valentine’s Day, third-year transfer student Kit Lamison and second-year Beaux Delaune presented their theme, “Star-Crossed Lovers,”  at the Dec. 7 Senate Meeting, where the next theme would be voted on and chosen. Planning had started early for them. They were excited to execute this idea even before Valentine’s COUP voting was on the horizon. 

“When we had our initial discussions last semester about hosting COUP, it was about the idea of love, star-crossed stories like Romeo and Juliet,” Delaune recalled. “We ran with the star part, to space. I imagined Star Wars, I imagined The Fifth Element.”

Upon winning, it was quick work. They began piecing together a budget spreadsheet and a roster of live bands. “We originally thought that this COUP was going to happen Feb. 17…  in time for Valentine’s Day,” Delaune explained. Art was drafted and a solid picture was beginning to form. But the hosts said plans started to fall through when they received notice from Student Activities and Campus Engagement (SAUCE) that the next COUP could not take place in February.

So what happened?

In the midst of planning, Delaune and Lamison reached out to check with SAUCE to talk through their ideas for locations. The response, they said, was an unexpected email informing them they would have to reschedule COUP.  They were told that February COUPs typically had issues in the past, prompting SAUCE to require more planning time. That brought a handful of questions from the hosts’ end, which yielded the following information: Administration is taking COUP on a case-by-case basis. For now, students can only be sure that the Star Crossed Lovers COUP will happen this semester. Additionally, The Old Mail Room (OMR), located in the Hamilton “Ham” Center, may no longer be considered a usable space for Walls or COUPs. Delaune and Lamison said they were told by administration that past Walls have left the space trashed, prompting issues with janitorial staff. 

Due to these concerns, COUPs may be on thin ice. For Lamison and Delaune, more planning will be required and, naturally, more caution.

“We’ve had to reschedule everything,” Delaune said. “We’re still unsure if we’re going to have a second COUP this semester because there has been a series of problematic guests who have been leaving spaces dirty.” The hosts told the Catalyst they want to stress how important it is that COUP-goers treat communal spaces with respect. 

“We’re working to combat trash build-up and make sure administration is happy, because this has been a very long tradition and it sucks it could possibly end with us. The main issue is making sure we’re being as cautious as possible. People underestimate how much it takes to plan and coordinate these events,” Delaune explained.

What to expect

COUP will take place on March 2 this year. From the Milky Way in the Nook, to the Black Hole in the OMR, the Celestial Heavens in Palm Court, Love in Deep Space at Z-Amphitheater (Z-Amp) and the screenings of Signs (1996) and Romeo and Juliet (1996) in Z-Green, students will have a variety of different locations from which to navigate the stars throughout the night. Lamison and Delaune are planning a colorful set list of live music. There will be  familiar names—the alumni band Physical Plant and student band Coconut Crabs—plus  local newcomers such as Now In Color, Softbite and Domino Pink.

Fundraising efforts include tabling outside Ham from Feb. 12 to 14. Students can support COUP by purchasing art made by second-years Alexandra Denner and Catalyst staff writer Riley Bucklin. Students can also send hand-made Valentines to others on campus. Additionally, there will be a Garage Sale on Feb. 25 from 12 a.m. to 4 p.m., hosted in part by the COUP organizers, Denner and thesis student and Catalyst Editor in Chief Gaby Batista. 

The Star Crossed Lovers COUP will not include the familiar system of Fairies and Dryads or a Chill-out Room, continuing  the policy changes that were implemented for the 2023 Halloween COUP.

 “Some things that we want our guests to know is that these spaces are public shared spaces, and we ask that people clean up after themselves and to respect other COUP attendees, and to have fun.” Delaune remarked.  “Dance, because it’s a dance party and dress up, because it’s a costume party too!”

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