On Sept. 22, 80’s TGIT marked the first TGIT of the school year. Thank Goodness It’s Thursday is a longstanding UD tradition of music, games and community building. Although TGIT was not held during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has since then returned a little different than it was before.
By the end of this spring, most of the students that experienced TGIT before COVID-19 will graduate and its original glory will be forgotten.
Grace Burleigh, who graduated with her B.A. in English in 2021 and is currently an English graduate student, was one of the few students willing to speak about pre-COVID TGIT.
Burleigh described it as “loud.” She explained, “If you wanted to have a chill time, you needed to show up early in the evening, when other students are still pregaming.”
Burleigh, a legacy student, still defended the event. She said, “TGIT is important to UD culture; my parents went, as did my aunts and uncles.”
“I remember that it was the first UD event someone invited me to attend when I was a freshman, because it’s that integral to the community here,” Burleigh reminisced. To her, TGIT functions as the link between families and different classes.
The initial reason for the halt of TGIT was the COVID-19 pandemic, yet this was not the start of the decline of TGIT.
“TGIT was, and is, very expensive — we were spending over $20,000 a year on it, from the food, to the ARAMARK beverages and staff, to police presence, which is required,” explained Dr. Gregory Roper, dean of students.
The expense, according to Roper, was not worth the lack of student attendance, especially given the majority of attendees would only show up for the final half hour.
“We want to provide a wide variety of extracurricular experiences for students, and pouring that much of the budget into one thing seemed a little foolish,” Roper said.
“Students have told us that they really miss TGIT; I’ve been frankly surprised at how passionately they express these sentiments,” said Roper. This is evident by the number of Student Government senate candidates who promised to fight for a weekly return of TGIT.
Roper continued, “As they talked to me, however, they seemed to struggle to explain why, so I remained honestly baffled by this: why this one thing?”
It is clear the students see TGIT as essential to UD culture, but struggle to articulate why.
“Then an alum explained it this way: it’s the only event during the week that has no purpose other than just to have fun,” said Roper. The same is not true for many UD events — movie nights are often followed by a professor-led discussion or hosted by a department. Even one of UD’s biggest traditions, Charity Week, is mainly a fundraiser.
However, TGIT is one of the few UD traditions where students unleash a crazier side. Not all students necessarily enjoy its debaucherous nature, though. Burleigh said, “I enjoyed the communal aspect, but not necessarily the bacchanal tendencies.”
Roper gave advice to attendees of TGIT, saying: “Be adults. Have fun but be thoughtful about it — live liberty, not license. Come and have a great time — stay for a while. Come in the earlier, calmer times and talk, meet new people, take part in the games, then stay if you like as the music gets louder. Don’t do something dumb like pre-gaming and getting in trouble.”