(Photo by Pixel Perfection, contributed by GrooveBoston)

Techno music, flashing lights and neon outfits are not what Fairfield students have associated with the annual tradition of Dogwoods in the past. However, this has changed ever since the complete overhaul and transformation of the Dogwoods spring formal to Dogwoods 2.0.

Dogwoods 2.0 featured Ethos Tour and DJ Greg T, which drew in a much larger audience than Dogwoods has in past years. The attendance was over 1,200 while last year’s event did not even garner 200 attendees.

Dogwoods 2.0 board member Anthony Pope ‘18 spoke on the reasons Fairfield University Student Association wanted to change the event, citing that there was already a formal dance on campus in the form of the Presidential Ball and a concert in the form of the fall concert. Because of this, FUSA wanted to do something different.

Sophomore Gregory Tchertchian, also known as DJ Greg T, said, “I really am amazed as to how this old tradition turned into something we’ve never seen before. We really needed to turn Dogwoods around for the better so that people would look forward to going. I am so grateful to have been able to open up the show and for being on FUSA.”

Sophomore Victoria Marek commented, “It was more club-like, which is good for a college campus because that is what college students like. Last year, it was more preppy and casual. I don’t think that appealed to [college students] as much.”

Marek, who also went to Dogwoods last year, felt that this year’s theme improved her experience.

“Last year was very plain,” she said. “I think this year had a really cool vibe with all the lights flashing. A lot of people wore neon colors to go along with the theme, which I thought was really cool.”

According to Pope, most students he spoke with had a similar response.

“My favorite part of the night was watching everyone’s faces when they walked into Alumni Hall,” he commented. “To see a massive scale production like that on Fairfield U’s campus was surprising for everyone. Everything went very smoothly and according to plan.”

Freshman Briana Maddaluna also had a good experience, adding, “I thought it was a lot of fun. It was something different to do on campus. It was fun to be with all our friends in the same place.”

Maddaluna said that she would like for the University to do a similar theme next year since she enjoyed it so much this year.

According to Pope, this year’s Dogwoods had the highest attendance in years.

“Within only one week, we sold over 1,300 tickets,” he said. “That is a very high sale rate considering it is a brand new event.”

FUSA Chair of Programming and Vice President Elect Brianna Tancredi ‘17, explained why this was. She said that ticket sales were similar to past years until a video was released explaining the overhaul of the event.

“It took a short, but direct video clip created by FUSA Programming’s Anthony Pope for students to finally understand that we were doing a total overhaul of Dogwoods. After this video was sent out to the entire student body, ticket sales started to pick up,” said Tancredi.

Overall, Marek believed that this year’s theme was much better than last year’s and that the University should continue doing what it did this year.

However, not all students were impressed with the event.

Junior Dennis Turano disliked the fact that the spring concert was taken away because of the overhaul of Dogwoods.

“We hear colleges like UNH getting Future and Sacred Heart getting Fetty Wap. I think a lot of people would have liked to see finances put toward a larger and more enjoyable act.”

“Personally,” Turano continued, “if we have Dogwoods the same next year as this year I would not go and neither would a majority of the incoming senior class.”

Director of GrooveBoston Bobby Dutton; however, had a different opinion.

“Students may think they want ‘a real concert,’ but realistically, it takes a lot more than one artist to create sustained, widespread engagement at a college concert in an era where we all have Spotify and decent headphones,” said Dutton.

“Our approach is to leverage all the different artists, and all genres, and focus more on the delivery system, to make the event something really unique — something you can’t experience on those headphones. With Dogwoods 2.0, FUSA figured out how to give students something really powerful.”

Tancredi has high hopes for the future of the tradition of Dogwoods.

“I hope students will look forward to this event every year,” she said. “FUSA Programming’s annual Presidential Ball needs no explanation, and now, I believe Dogwoods 2.0 will not need one either.”

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