Scripps College will start allowing students to reserve courtyards for events, including parties with alcohol, later this month as part of its new vibrancy courtyards initiative, officials said.
“The idea was created based on … feedback shared with my office over the years about limited social spaces and not feeling a sense of belonging and community at Scripps,” Director of Campus Life Brenda Ice said in an email to TSL. “Students reported wanting a space to gather, socialize and connect with others at Scripps, much like other campuses within the consortium do.”
Students will be able to reserve the ‘oasis’ parking area between Grace Scripps Clark and Eleanor Joy Toll Halls, the Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Hall courtyard and the courtyard between Cecil and Bessie Frankel Hall and Nan Elizabeth Walsh Schow Hall, community coordinator Tova Levine SC ’21 said.
The policy aims to promote community at Scripps by offering these spaces for gatherings, loud music and many attendees, with the option to hire bartenders from a catering company, according to community coordinator Abby Power SC ’21.
“Vibrancy courtyards are meant to provide a space for Scripps students to gather on our campus and not feel like we can only do so on other schools’ campuses,” she said. “They’re meant to help create more community and make the campus more lively.”
But Scripps Associated Students president Niyati Narang SC ’20 said the catering service may be too expensive for many students.
“From what I’ve gathered from a lot of the students that I’ve spoken with, the cost of having to rent out a catering service in order to provide alcohol is just assumed to be so high that I don’t anticipate a lot of students taking advantage of that,” she said.
The vibrancy courtyards are the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at increasing “inclusive student success” and improving “residential vibrancy,” Ice said. Previous initiatives created the community coordinator student position and enacted less strict policies regarding noise complaints in fall 2018.
The efforts seem successful so far, Narang said.
“I remember this year, and last year as well, I was noticing more events that were put on by students … and walking around campus, coming back from something and hearing music playing, or seeing students out and about,” she said.
“Vibrancy courtyards are meant to provide a space for Scripps students to gather on our campus and not feel like we can only do so on other schools’ campuses … They’re meant to help create more community and make the campus more lively.” – Abby Power SC ’21, community coordinator
Others think more can be done, though.
Laila Kent SC ’22 said she wants more community within residence halls, noting that she didn’t know either of her neighbors’ names last year. Instead, she described campus culture as “pockets of community.”
“I don’t think there’s one big community,” she said.
Ice said she hopes allowing students to gather and host events in vibrancy courtyards will create a more cohesive community at Scripps.
“It is my hope that this initiative will meet the needs of our students, creating a space that builds community and strengthens our connection to Scripps,” she said.
But many students are still unaware of the new initiative and how to use it, according to Power.
“They need to make [vibrancy courtyards] more advertised as to what their goal is,” Kent said. “Start by educating people.”
Other students, like Lily Silver SC ’22, said they hadn’t heard about the courtyards at all.
Nevertheless, Kent, Power and Narang are all excited for the opportunities the courtyards will afford to students.
Narang has received mostly positive feedback on the new policy, calling it a “step in the right direction.” She added that most people she’s talked to aren’t worried about increased noise from events in the courtyards.
“I personally have not heard too much of a concern that Scripps is going to lose its quietness … I think that Scripps will definitely maintain its qualities of being a nice place to come home to,” she said.