Year-long plans for the Feb. 18 Broad Street party are not as big as once thought.
Last year, sophomore sports management major Dan Pulse came up with the idea of Broadi Gras.
The idea was to have a Mardi Gras celebration on Main Campus, in the same vain of Spring Fling and Penn State’s State Patty’s Day.
Now, nearly a year since the Facebook invitation was originally sent out, the event has 3,749 attendees. But beyond the Facebook event invitation and some T-shirts being sold, there doesn’t appear to be any other tangible sign that Broadi Gras, which is scheduled to occur on Feb. 18, is actually happening.
“I’ve had several people Facebook message me asking about the event, asking me what it’s going to be like since it’s right around the corner,” Pulse said.
“This year it isn’t going to be anything big since Temple isn’t sponsoring it, but I have been talking to Temple and they are fully up for it. I’m waiting to hear back from them to meet with them again to see if we can get this thing sponsored in the future,” Pulse added.
While the event may not have backing from any administration within the university, Pulse claims he has been in communication with Main Campus Program Board.
“I’ve been talking to [MCPB] about making this a real event for some time,” Pulse said. “They brought me in last semester to talk about everything and what my plans were and what my vision was for the future of this.”
Pulse admitted that he does not remember with whom he spoke from MCPB, but said he was well-received.
“I was in there for a meeting with them and they said how many students come to them with ideas but they said how my idea was one of the few ideas they’ve ever heard where they actually really liked it and they believe this can be something in the future,” Pulse said.
“I have not heard anything about a Broadi Gras event,” Tania Neptune, president of MCPB, said. “This is my first time hearing about it, and it sounds really cool actually.”
Neptune said that when planning an event of this scale “a lot of structure and commitment from people” is required, which may prove difficult for Pulse who has only been promoting Broadi Gras through the Facebook event and word-of-mouth.
“The bigger you want something the more people you will want to have on board,” Neptune said. “So coming together and having meetings, a lot of structure and making sure you’re going to have lots of fun.”
Pulse is aware that this year Broadi Gras will not be on the scale it was expected to be but said it will still be happening on a smaller scale.
“A bunch of people say they plan on having a barbecue and I think that’s great,” Pulse said. “I envision going to barbecues and seeing 20 to 30 people wearing Mardi Gras colors, it’s something I’d love to see.”
Neptune, who has experience in planning larger events on Main Campus did have some advice for students wanting to create something to the magnitude of Spring Fling.
“The first step would be talking to Gina D’Annunzio, director of Student Activities, and Christopher Carey, associate director of student activities, and say ‘what is your take on this type of event?’” Neptune said. “You could also come to [MCPB] since we are familiar with planning large-scale events.”
“The first step is really getting involved with [student] organizations,” Neptune added. “It’s really hard to be a single student here and get things done. So you definitely have to come up with a solid game plan. Be very focused, be very serious and have a backing. If you tell me, ‘I have support from 18 [student organizations] or 150 students.’ Then I’ll know students really do want to see this.”
Neptune also explained that Spring Fling is such a large-scale event because it requires a lot of participation from the different student organizations on Main Campus. MCPB is also only responsible for marketing, promotion and picking the theme – Student Activities and student organizations plan the rest.
Pulse remains optimistic about his plans for the future of Broadi Gras. He’s accepted February may not be the best time for this kind of event.
“An event in February obviously wouldn’t be the best thing with the weather,” Pulse said. “February’s nice this year but we don’t know what it’s going to be like two or three years from now, that was one of the biggest concerns we talked about.”
“An idea we had was maybe having [Broadi Gras] after a 12 p.m. football game in the fall,” Pulse added. “No families can come down for Spring Fling [on a weekday.] It would get them to come down here [on a weekend] to see the campus.”
Pulse also said he hopes to raise money through Broadi Gras, and donate it to something similar to the Police Athletic League, an after-school program where, according to the PAL website, children are provided with “free educational, athletic and cultural after-school programs in a safe environment.”
“It would be something great to give back to cops for all the hard work that they do everyday around this campus,” Pulse said. “If we could raise money while having our visitors, our friends and family come for a great event and raise money for a great [cause] – that would be incredible.”
Broad Street may not be taken over with an onslaught of green, purple and gold on Feb. 18, but that may not mean the end of Broadi Gras.
Luis Fernando Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.