Isman ’15: Spring Weekend: An opportunity for community

Just as in my first two years at Brown, I was not familiar with the Spring Weekend artists this year. I had heard of Diplo and Lauryn Hill before, but when asked to name one of their songs, I couldn’t. At first I was bothered by this — I always feel my experience of the weekend would be better if I knew something about the artists performing. But as the weekend began to pick up speed, I realized that what makes Spring Weekend memorable has little to do with who is performing.

Baeble Music Blog named Brown’s Spring Weekend lineup the best college music festival of the year. Competing with other much larger schools that brought in bigger names in the music industry, Brown stood out as the most versatile and most likely to have something for everyone. But what’s important about Spring Weekend is not necessarily the quality of the performers. A significant portion of the Brown community comes together to celebrate Spring Weekend each year. In those moments, when we are all swaying to the music together, even dancing with strangers, we remember that the Brown community extends beyond our immediate group of friends. It extends beyond the students in our classes and those living in our dorms.

This year, students gathered before and after the concerts to enjoy each other’s company and to continue celebrating the busy but exciting semester. The festivities extended beyond moments spent jumping up and down on the Main Green to events such as Ultra and Spring Weekend After Dark at Lupo’s. Organized “by Brown students (and) for Brown students,” as Alex Oberg ’12 told The Herald earlier this month, these events demonstrate the desire to continue the community bonding. Though the purpose of such events is perhaps debatable, large numbers of the Brown community continue to gather outside of campus and create a convivial energy. Rather than attending smaller, independent after-parties, these events show a continued desire to gather in larger numbers, as a whole, distinctly Brown, community.

Even pre-concert events demonstrate this feeling of community. As I sat on the Buxton patio last weekend, enjoying burgers with friends, the number of students socializing together in the area grew exponentially. Though this growth could be attributed to large numbers of people congregating on Wriston and trying to find space — or smelling the burgers — the students hanging out in this area were not limited to the usual groups of people.

The sense of community at Brown during Spring Weekend exhibits something inherent to Brown students — regardless of our differences and disagreements, our student body still wants to socialize and experience each other’s company. It has been a turbulent year in terms of disagreements with both the administration and with each other. We have often argued opposing viewpoints on a range of issues. In particular, this year saw intense demonstrations against speakers and Brown-sponsored events, but in spite of this tumult, students are still able to put our differences aside and come together. Time and time again we remind ourselves that being part of the Brown community is not only about speaking our minds but also about knowing that our differences should not and cannot divide us.

Some see Spring Weekend as an excuse to party, while others view it as a way to enjoy great music at a reduced price. But the event goes beyond the partying and music. The event demonstrates that we are part of a community that wants to continue to communicate and bond. Spring Weekend, regardless of which artist performs, has always been memorable and exciting. In the end, Spring Weekend is more of an excuse to remove our noses from our books and realize that we are surrounded by thousands of great people ­— and potential new friends.


 Samantha Isman ’15 can be reached at

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