Plans begin for student-led 'Ragefest'
It only took a few minutes after reading University President Richard L. McCormick's email about the cancellation of Rutgersfest for School of Arts and Sciences first-year students Hamer Farag and Barry Woletz to create a "Rutgersfest 2012" Facebook event.
But after the threat of legal repercussions for using the trademarked event name and University logo, Farag changed it, and "Ragefest 2012" was born.
"[Rutgersfest] was an event that helped us relieve the stress of a long school year," Farag said. "It's really upsetting the [administration] canceled it."
University administrators officially Rutgersfest, the annual end-of-the-year concert and carnival sponsored by the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA), last week due to violent activity that took place in New Brunswick after the concert.
The event, which has about 6,600 guests who say they are attending, is an effort on behalf of its coordinators to keep tradition alive and continue what Rutgersfest was without the concert, said Anthony Flotterton, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student.
"It's a day for us to enjoy celebrating here and to show school spirit," he said.
Despite the name and the slated date for the event, April 20 of next year, the event is not all about partying.
"We're trying to bring back Rutgersfest with a new identity — a more secure identity," Farag said.
The Ragefest coordinators — which besides Woletz, Farag and Flotterton include School of Arts and Sciences first year Joe Goldstein and School of Engineering first years Daniel Moritz and Daniel Rico — believe their event will be a success because it is planned for students by students.
Farag said Ragefest would not have as many incidents involving students who do not attend the University because the Facebook event is closed and only University students can join.
"We want to bring back Rutgersfest, that's why we made the event closed to students who don't come here," he said. "[We don't want] other people ruining it."
Goldstein said he is more on board for bringing Rutgersfest back and believes the end-of-the-year celebration would be incomplete without a concert.
"I still think we should have the concert and implement some solutions to the problems," he said. "Students can only bring one or two guests. It should not be free and open to the public, just for Rutgers students."
Because Ragefest was just created, the coordinators do not have a set idea for what the day would exactly entail. But they plan to sell Ragefest t-shirts and hold events and fundraisers throughout the school year to possibly fund a musical act for the day, Farag said.
"Some schools don't pay for the people performing at concerts. Each [student could] pay to see whoever is performing," Moritz said. "If we want funding from the school, it would be hard to launch."
To avoid the violence of this year's Rutgersfest, Farag said the event would need some support.
"We still need the support of the administration and New Brunswick itself," he said. "People are going to drink and have to go to the hospital, so they have to be prepared for that."
But University spokesman E.J. Miranda said Ragefest would receive no such support.
"The University has canceled Rutgersfest, and Rutgers will not fund or support a similar event," he said.
The Ragefest coordinators thought there were many flaws with the planning of Rutgersfest.
"I thought it was extremely poorly organized," Farag said. "The concert was ridiculous. Half of the people there weren't Rutgers students."
Moritz said the problem with outsiders coming to Rutgersfest is their lack of respect for the University.
"Rutgersfest was open, everyone knows when it is, and some are not coming here to visit anyone," he said. "Because they were showing up [for after the concert], they showed no respect for the school. We pay for our surroundings and we respect them."
All of the Ragefest creators agree the ultimate goal is to bring Rutgersfest back to the University.
"We will get something back in [the next] four years," Farag said. "If it turns out to be successful — and we have a good feeling it will — maybe the administration will see and bring [Rutgersfest] back."
Moritz said a year off from Rutgersfest might do the University some good.
"A year off from Rutgersfest is a good idea. It will let the hype die a little bit," he said. "We can have Ragefest and then Rutgersfest."