Plattsburgh State students gathered at Hawkins Pond for a quick swim break this past Tuesday at noon. While music was playing and the platty slack line was set up in front of the pond, students started going into the pond one by one in their bathing suits. One student even brought a tube. By 12:30 p.m., University Police came to break up the excursion.
According to UP, there is a liability issue that would have occurred had someone gotten hurt. Additionally, they said the fountain is not meant to be treated as a pool, so people shouldn’t be swimming in it at all. UP also said that there is some wiring toward the center of the pond where it sprays out, so someone could’ve easily gotten electrocuted.
The idea came from PSUC junior Tim Behuniak who was just joking around with his roommates. He said the 85 degree weather was definitely a contributing factor to why he went through with the pond party, as well as people just needing a day to de-stress.
“We thought it’d be fun to do it during the day,” Behuniak said. “I looked online, and there wasn’t anything against it, and there’s no sign saying we can’t swim in it.”
Behuniak created a Facebook page inviting over 150 PSUC students to wear bathing suits and Hawaiian shirts to celebrate the first pond party. He said it was a collective effort as friends started inviting others through word of mouth.
“It was awesome. People were encouraging others to get in, and people we didn’t even invite hopped in too, so that was fun,” he said.
Even though the event was against policy, many students thought the outing was at least very inclusive and inviting. PSUC ecology major Liz Boemark said she heard about the party through a friend texting her about it.
“She told me there was almost like a flash mob that was going to happen at the pond, so I got out of class at 11:50 and decided to walk over and check it out,” she said.
When Boemark first arrived at noon, she didn’t think people would go through with it, but one by one students started going into pond, and then she joined in.
After hearing what the police had to say, Boemark said she gets why they weren’t supposed to have the party, but she still enjoyed the whole excursion.
“It was pretty uniting. I mean everyone was just splashing each other and saying hi. It was like a good end to the summer,” she said.
Boemark said the party was all over social media and Snapchat and that a ton of people were surrounding the pond video taping. Boemark said her favorite part was seeing people that weren’t even invited joining in on the fun.
“I personally know a lot of people in that group that set it up, and they’re all adventurous. They’re always moving,” she said. “ And it was cool because they got people that weren’t so adventurous to come in the pond.”
Still, Boemark said she understands that the police had to stop the party due to safety issues.
This isn’t the first time an incident like this has happened. For years, University of Albany celebrated its famous “Fountain Day” where students all gathered, ate food, and celebrated in their fountain. However, in 2011, “Fountain Day” was revoked from students due to what UAlbany President George M. Philip called “destructive behavior,” in the past, according to their official news website. Additionally, there has been past cases where students were treated for injuries, many of whom were intoxicated.
For PSUC students participating in the pond party, it was just innocent fun, and there was no alcohol nor injuries involved. Students were simply not aware of the safety precautions.
“After hearing what UP had to say, it makes sense,” Behuniak said. “Before that, I just figured there were just rocks in the bottom, and I didn’t think anything would go wrong, and nothing did, so that was good.”
Email Kavita Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org