Decreased float turnout is a step in the right direction

Nick Sestanovich
Nick Sestanovich

This year’s annual Labor Day float drew a smaller number of participants compared to previous years, possibly as a result of alcohol restrictions put in place after the death of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Brett Olson at last year’s float.

The reactions I’ve heard to this turnout have been generally mixed. I’ve heard some, like Olson’s mother, express approval of a safer float, but I’ve also heard more than a few people call it a blow to the tradition as well as Chico State’s party school reputation.

As somebody who came to Chico State to learn and not to party, I have to ask: why do we even need a party school reputation? I don’t have too much against partying per se. I generally don’t do it, but I understand it can be a good way to blow off some steam after a long week of work. I just hate the fact that it’s become the face of Chico State to a lot of people.It’s become rather humbling to tell people I go to school here and then have to tell them “Oh, we’re not all partiers! We have good education programs!” We have the highest graduation rate of any of the CSUs, but you’ll never hear about that in the media.

I think the restrictions on the Labor Day float present a good challenge to students: being able to have fun without getting drunk. As far as I’m concerned, that sounds rather easy. You’re floating in inner tubes on the Sacramento River with your friends, and you’ll occasionally be able to catch a current. That sounds fun enough. I don’t see why alcohol is necessary to enhance that.

Count me in as one of those pleased to hear about a less rowdy float. I don’t know if this will have any significant change on the school’s reputation as some are suggesting, but I don’t think it would matter if it did. We may be a “party school,” but at the end of the day, we’re still a school.


Nick Sestanovich can be reached at [email protected].