The final highlight of every graduating class takes place in the week between the end of finals and commencement. Senior Week offers seniors the opportunity to enjoy friends, reflect on their time together and celebrate their accomplishments as they prepare for life after college.

However, past incidents have led to controversy surrounding the week-long event. Many believe these incidents have led to the question of the events being altered into a dry event.

“These rumors are false,” said Colleen Wilson, program coordinator in the department of student programs and leadership development. “Senior Week will continue to include both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.”

The tragic death of Deandre Lawton ‘13 at the end of last year’s Senior Week shook many and led to questions about the future of this event. However, according to Wilson, this incident did not impact any changes that have been made for Senior Week 2014.

When discussing the possibility of a change to a dry event in years to come, Wilson said that she does not see it happening. Rather, changes are being made to make Senior Week safer for students.

“We are reminding seniors to be mindful of the Fairfield University student code of conduct and their actions,” said Wilson. “In addition, we will be having professional staff members present at the majority of our events in addition to the Department of Public Safety and additional security.”

This year, there will be nine events, as opposed to last year’s seven.

A senior mass has been added on Sunday night, as well as a four-hour service experience that is free to the first 100 seniors. This will be an opportunity for seniors to bond with classmates as they help prepare Seaside Park in Bridgeport for its opening in late May.

“Service is such a big part of being at Fairfield,” said Lindsey Hanley ’15, a Senior Week Chair member. “I think it’s really great and it’s optional.”

Also, the once-criticized casino trip has been replaced with a trip to Six Flags New England after a review of student feedback.

“It’s just a different plan,” said Hanley about inserting these new events. “There was no cause behind it. Sometimes things just need updating. There was low attendance at the casino trip in the past few years, so there had been feedback for the Six Flags trip.”

According to Wilson and Hanley, changes will only be made in years to come based off student feedback.

“I think they are trying to keep the same model. That seems like what works, so I don’t think we’ll see major changes in the next few years,” said Hanley.

Senior Week 2014 will take place from Sunday, May 11, to Sunday, May 17.  Seniors can pre-purchase tickets beginning on Friday, March 21.

“We value feedback from our students and hope that this will be an experience that seniors will enjoy,” said Wilson.

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