USG sinks senior riverboat plans

St. Thomas seniors hoping to take part in one of the university’s long-standing traditions this spring should expect a change in plans.

The Undergraduate Student Government announced in a press release Friday, Feb. 16, that it will be discontinuing the senior riverboat cruise, USG’s sole senior event for a number of years, due to high demand and little space.

“Unfortunately, the event has only been able to accommodate 500 of over 1,300 seniors and has not been able to accommodate any of our growing number of December graduates,” USG said.

The statement said the Senior Class council is working hard to plan a variety of senior week events that are scheduled to take place the week before commencement. The events will be open to all seniors, including fall graduates.

USG said the budget for senior events will remain the same and will be used to plan the senior week events.

When asked about possible plans for senior week, Senior Class President Jazz Hampton would not to comment until USG and the Senior Class council are able to “iron items out.”

Senior Dan Cooper said he thinks Hampton should have contacted the senior class and asked for their opinion on the issue before any decisions were made.

“Even if it does accommodate more people, let’s have some say in what we want to do for our senior year,” Cooper said.

Senior Peter Wright agreed and said he thinks the decision will disappoint the majority of the senior class.

“I just know a lot of people will be disappointed to see it canceled, that’s for sure,” Wright said.

Because a different type of event may be more inclusive to the whole senior class, senior Evan Nolander said he “doesn’t really have a big problem with (the cancellation).”

“I just think that rather than having a small portion of the senior class, if there’s a way we could all get together and do something as one giant group, I think it’d be a lot better experience and more beneficial for everybody,” Nolander said.

Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Kris Roach said larger class sizes have been fairly consistent for the last few years; a statistic that may have influenced USG’s decision.

“We have been, and anticipate looking for, a freshman class of approximately 1,350,” Roach said. “We are also responsible for recruiting transfer students, and we’re looking for approximately 275 to 300 in the fall.”

Senior Madisyn Aultman said she also thinks it is beneficial to include more seniors but that not every event has to do so.

“Some events can have less people,” Aultman said.

Senior Tyler Iverson said the event’s novelty should count for something.

“Even if they couldn’t fit them all, I feel like it’s still a cool event,” Iverson said. “If you really wanted to go, you probably could’ve been able to go because you could stand in line, you know, things like that to make sure you get a ticket.”

Iverson said he also thought the riverboat cruise would have been a nice way for St. Thomas to congratulate the senior class.

“I think that we pay a lot of money in our tuition, and it’d be a nice thing for the school to give back to us as a way of saying congratulations for coming here for four years,” Iverson said.

Seniors like Wright and Garrett Schmidt said they have heard positive things from past riverboat attendees and were looking forward to attending.

“I’ve heard a lot of good things from students last year who really enjoyed it,” Wright said. “It’s always one of those great moments where you get together with all of your friends in your class and you can enjoy the last big celebration together.”

“I’m a little infuriated because all the other previous classes have had the same experience,” Schmidt said.

As far as events upperclassmen hope to see take place of the riverboat, many said they are indifferent as long as it lives up to the old tradition.

“Something just as fun as that was, but I have no idea. Something that could live up to it I guess,” senior Lauren Donna said.

“Maybe just a bigger (river) boat; that’d probably be the best alternative. I’m really hoping they decide to reconsider the canceling of it though,” Wright said.

Senior Mollie Gebhart said an event where the graduating class could come together without any school-induced stress would be ideal.

“I think just anything where we can all just have a break and be able to spend time together and not have to be worrying about school and graduating and stuff like that,” Gebhart said.

If you are a senior or December 2011 graduate and interested in joining the committee to plan the senior week of events, please contact

Briggs Lesavage can be reached at

22 Replies to “USG sinks senior riverboat plans”

  1. At first I was extremely disappointed that the riverboat event was cancelled. Upon reflection however, I can understand the sense in trying to accommodate more seniors. I graduated in December and did not know until reading this article that I wouldn’t have been able to go on the riverboat. So I appreciate having other options. However, I have been extremely frustrated by the fact that I hear nothing from my senior class representatives regarding events or asking for opinions. Based on the commencement facebook page and conversations I’ve had with fellow seniors, I dare say I’m not alone in that feeling. We as a whole elected our representatives and it would be greatly appreciated if those representatives would take the time to ask for our input in matters such as the riverboat or alternative celebration activities. 

  2. At first glance at the title of this article I thought it was something about a riverboat sinking with UST seniors on it… phew!

  3. I completely agree with Aylie. USG is supposed represent the entire class not just the needs and want of those in USG. I strongly believe that if the entire senior class got to vote on this subject the river boat would still be running but alas there is no true representation of the entire class. Something should be done about this so that we all have our concerns heard not just a select few.

  4. This sucks. That was a great tradition, and a really fun evening for seniors. Are there any stats on how many people who wanted to go this event got turned away? I realize the class sizes are bigger than the number that could go on the boat, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those who didn’t go actually wanted to. 

  5. I agree with Aylie’s statement that it is extremely frustrating that the senior class has heard nothing from our representative. Especially in an instance such as this, we should be able to voice our opinion. Although I was looking forward to attending this event, I can understand why they felt the need to make some changes. Now is the time to get input from the senior class as to alternative celebrations instead of having members of USG decided for us.  

  6. As a recent graduate, I’m very sad to see this tradition go away. The Senior Riverboat was one of the highlights of my senior year and is a very unique event for upcoming graduates. I would agree with Brendan that it would be useful to see numbers on how many people actually got turned away. I know of many of my classmates who did not go, purely because they didn’t want to go, not that they were denied a ticket. The senior class should have been consulted before USG made such a decision. 

  7. Didn’t even know this was a tradition so I could care less. Why doesn’t USG just get like 100 kegs and we can all rage out in the quad and bring in some music?

  8. I personally think that they should have contacted the senior class to get their thoughts on the cancellation before the decision was made.  What ever event they plan, I think it should be similar to the River Boat Cruise in terms of a big party in a ballroom where we can all gather together and celebrate.  I really hope they don’t just plan a bunch of mediocre activities for this “senior week” they are talking about doing.  Let us celebrate with a party all the hard work and construction we have experienced in our last four years!

  9. 1) I think this is the first time I was proud to read a title of a Tommiemedia article. Briggs, well done. The title is actually witty. 

    2) While the tradition was “cool” and “fun”, the majority of seniors would not be able to participate. STAR brought Jordan Sparks to campus a while back, spending $110,000 for only 600 students to see her perform. Why does USG allow such exorbitant spending for so few of their undergraduate students? The river boat obviously costs much less, but I bet they could use those funds for a social mixer that ALL seniors could go to.

  10. As someone who once planned the riverboat and other class events a few years back, I can safely say that event planning like this has its challenges. When you have a class of over 1,000 students, not everyone will happy, not everyone can attend, and not everyone acts responsibly. Despite this, we still had very successful events. Our biggest challenge was that when we reached out to our student body for ideas or invited people to voice their opinions to the class council, we only heard crickets on the other end. That happens a lot in student government. Mass surveys aren’t easy to send out, so you have to go to the meetings, get on Facebook, email your representatives, and engage them in other ways other than SurveyMonkey or internal research. Without your voice, they are left to their own ideas and resources to plan your class events–and it’s not like event planning is their full-time job either. (Class representatives were not paid for their time and service, and most of them have homework and jobs and other demands, just like you.) My advice would be to encourage students to join their class council, go to the physical meetings, and make their voices heard as decisions are made, not after.

  11. I think it’s the job of student council members to reach out to their constituents for input. They are supposed to be representing the student body, after all, not just lofting their own opinions. Yes, student reps have other work to do, just like everyone else, but they signed up for the job and should expect to do some legwork in order to make informed decisions on issues like these that affect more than 1,000 people. USG shouldn’t be for people who just want a resume boost; it should be for students who want to better their school and promote students’ voice on campus. TommieMedia does an OK job holding them accountable, but could probably do more.

    I’d be very interested in seeing a TM story on how much the riverboat event cost, how many seniors attended, and how many seniors wanted to attend but were unable to because of space restraints. Then see how much the new senior week plans will cost. USG has an enormous budget (usually more than $200,000 per semester), and clubs get less than half of that. Could USG have afforded to keep the riverboat cruise and plan other, more inclusive events for seniors as well?

  12. Are we really “sad” to see the  tradition of a drunken riverboat cruise go away?  Let’s take this opportunity to establish some traditions that are more meaningful and lasting than a transfer of our Saturday night shennanigans to a big boat.

  13. What would prefer? Irresponsible behavior? Stupid actions? Immaturity? I like the sound of shennanigans better :)

  14. Sefan, Just wonder how many Senior Riverboat trips you have been on? I guess you would do away with the home St. John’s football game for the same reasons. A vote is needed by all seniors when Tommie tradition is washed away. I do agree with Brendan that all seniors should have the choice to attend a senior event.. Briggs (Tennis), Exccellent title and article.

  15. Actually, I wouldn’t do away with a football game because it has some sort of purpose.  It isn’t just another excuse to get drunk.  All I’m saying is that the cash could certainly be better spent on something more inclusive and worthwhile than a drunken boat cruise.  I do not mourn the loss of this “tradition.”  And with that, I am done with this thread!

  16. Nice Stefan!  How is it on top of your ivory tower looking down on all the sorry people? 

    Remember, the Church has had its problems too with spending money  on things that could have been avoided.  Please look up why the Milwaukee Archdiocese had to file bankruptcy.

    And with that, I’m off to confession!

  17. Personally, I’d like to see the Church not spend their money on some “shenanigans” a few priests took a part in.

  18. Darn, and I thought the riverboat would be a fun evening! Thanks for opening my eyes to all of the senseless debauchery. Good to know that there are still people in this world willing to tell me what’s meaningful and what’s just “an excuse to get drunk!” Where were you when I went to my cousin’s wedding reception and celebrated their union by thoroughly enjoying the open bar? We could have used that money to buy the happy couple something more worthwhile!

  19. So, is this happening or not?  Because there is a site up where you can still purchase tickets for a senior riverboat ride happening at the end of April.  Is this different from the USG one?  

  20. John, thanks for the update on church spending. I would probably actually second that sentiment of yours ;) Jennifer, I think you missed my point there. A wedding is a reason to celebrate, obviously. The point I was trying to get across is that there are better uses of our money than to simply rent a riverboat in order to go have a drunken party. I have had my fair share of fun evenings as well…I just think it’s a good move and that funds earmarked for some sort of a senior celebration can be used more wisely and in a way that is open to everyone who wants to participate.

Comments are closed.