Tent parties to be replaced with early evening cultural festival

Chair of planning committee says change is to bring more inclusivity into the event

This year’s OneWorld@MIT event will be an early evening cultural festival. For the past three years, MIT held late evening dance parties colloquially known as “tent parties.”

The change hopes to bring more inclusivity into the event, said Professor Raul Radovitzky, chair of the OneWorld@MIT Planning Committee, in an interview with The Tech.

This year’s event will be a celebration of culture, performing arts, and food, according to a statement from Radovitzky emailed to The Tech. The theme has not yet been released.

“The feeling is that in the past couple of years, families were left sort of a little bit in the margins, because you cannot bring families with younger kids [to tent parties]. So we’d like to be a little bit more inclusive and give more people an opportunity to participate,” Radovitzky said.

The cancellation of the tent parties also came up during the UA Council meeting Feb. 13. According to the minutes, the tent parties were considered “very expensive.” The minutes also said a “different but fun event” is set to occur instead.

“One major reason [for the changes] is the cost of the tent parties was too expensive and unsustainable,” UA President Alexa Martin ’19 wrote in an email to The Tech. “While we were not involved in this original decision to change the style of event, the UA has since been involved by nominating students to serve on the OneWorld planning committee.”

According to Radovitzky, however, the organizing committee has thus far not dealt with the budgetary side of the event and are unsure what the restrictions are. President L. Rafael Reif funds the event from his discretionary account.

Since students are the focus of the event, and it has been popular with both students and Reif, there is a reasonable chance they will return in the future, Radovitzky said. The committee hopes to plan tent parties at least once every four years so that students can experience them at least once in their undergraduate career.

The decision to change the event this year was made by the OneWorld@MIT Planning Committee as a whole, Radovitzky said. This committee is co-chaired by Radovitzky and Gayle M. Gallagher, executive director of institute events, and also includes graduate and undergraduate students.

The committee is converging on the theme for this year’s event but is still working out the details, according to Radovitzky. In 2018, the theme was sustainability.