Let’s #MakeTGITGreatAgain

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Photo by Peter Burleigh

T.G.I.T. 

Noun. Pronounced: /ˈtijit/ 

Definition 1: an acronym that stands for Thank Goodness It’s Thursday.

Definition 2: an event that’s becoming a party scene in need of some serious detox. 

Some love it, some hate it and some go to it just for the snacks.

According to the UD Admissions handbook, TGIT is formally defined as where students “Dress up according to each week’s theme …… and enjoy music, dancing and relaxing with friends.” Students working for the Campus Activities Board set up the music, food, lights and tunes, and at 9 p.m., the fun begins.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to be. 

My freshman year, I was told not to go to TGIT before 9, because if you want to have a good time, you only get there at 11. And let me just say, relaxing was not the word I would use to describe my first TGIT.  

I stood in a crowd of people dancing, crammed in close for barely an hour before the final midnight chorus of Stacy’s Mom, a song about a young man’s sexual craving for another girl’s parent. 

It doesn’t really sound like what you’d expect from people whose school’s motto is “Love ye truth and justice”. And then I went home, my lungs full of secondhand smoke, to sleep until I needed to blearily stumble into my first Friday morning class. 

But doesn’t everyone love TGIT? 

Alumni rave about it and a lot of people on campus seem to think it’s a really great tradition. C.A.B. works so hard on it, sinking over 20 hours a week into trying to make the event the best it can be every Thursday.

What we need to ask is why do some people avoid it like the plague, why do some people (like me) only venture in to grab a few bland snacks, say hello and duck out again? The question I’m asking isn’t just about subjective opinion, it is about the fact that the activity which is supposed to be community forming is leaving a lot of people repulsed. 

Is our current celebration of TGIT a leisurely tradition for a campus that is supposed to be focused on the good, the true and the beautiful? Josef Pieper, a philosopher who has devoted his life to leisure, celebration and happiness, says that “Leisure is only possible when we are one with ourselves.” 

A lot of TGIT nights seem to have many people acting one way on Thursday nights and another way the next morning. People that are altar boys, soccer players and student workers, seem to let go and dance like they are still in high school.  

It seems tragic that we also have added to the mix a bunch of students who have had a little too much to drink, often resulting in a little too much PDA for anyone’s comfort. 

College is often called a strange in-between time, and many people see it as a last hurrah, a time to let loose and experiment. However, real life doesn’t work that way. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Using TGIT as an outlet just seems like the perfect recipe for saying and doing things you’ll regret the next morning.

We need to make TGIT great again. 

We need to look closely at this tradition and kick out what Pieper calls “tawdry empty stimuli” which kills contemplation and the receptivity of the soul. If we’re going to spend hundreds of dollars per night on this, we should make it a night that looks fun to more than just avid partiers. We should really try to relax in a healthy way, not indulge in the toxic drinking culture that taints this, and so many other college campuses.

TGIT was originally a Rome tradition, where people would get together with some live music and really relax like adults, with a glass of wine and a focus on community.  In Irving, where we still have classes to go to the next morning, it might be worth looking into having TGIT every other week, to give people time to recover, and maybe encourage people to show up earlier, so all that hard work by C.A.B. doesn’t go to waste. 

Let’s keep doing more TGIT themes that include activities outside of just talking and dancing, like trivia, costume contests and game nights. Maybe we can change the culture of TGIT by changing our own behavior, drinking less and acting more authentic, so it better reflects who we are as people, and who we are as a university. 

Maybe we could include more get-together events to build community alongside TGIT, such as more school dances. That way, we can revive the older dances that UD used to hold such as the St. Patricks and Valentine’s Day dances, or the Sadie Hawkins sockhop. 

It might be fun to trade in a few wild Thursday nights with some classy dances. This way people have a chance to show their moves without bumping into poles and  each other. 

Maybe in the future of UD get-togethers, we can seek out friendships instead of incoherent acquaintances, maybe have great times of bonding instead of the lonesomeness of late-night fast decisions. Maybe, just maybe, we can take back TGIT so that when Thursday rolls around, we aren’t just trying to get through the night, but we can thank goodness for it. 

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