Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 11. August 1, 1957
Capping Could be Fun . . . — Wooing in the Woolstore
Capping Could be Fun . . .
Wooing in the Woolstore
Now that our brief Capping and prolonged Extrav. season have gone. I would like to make some observations.
First. I would congratulate all those who put their backs to the wheel of capping, and kept it moving this year. Those who worked for it worked well. That does not include those who assisted by standing on the sideline and cheering; for too many students, especially full-timers, were content to do this. Not for them the glory—and fun—meeting the public as students, and proud of it and their Varsity, not for them the privilege offered them by tradition, to let their hair down legally for a few hours and enjoy themselves in a manner which is only theirs while they are students.
And, it is fun, too.
It is also a glorious opportunity to find out what the public thinks of us and improve our relations with them. I am now sure that, contrary to what I was told, the vast majority were all for us and supported us here in Wellington the same as they do elsewhere, and it's time we realised it. They are interested in us and our activities, in so far as they know about them. It is the moral duty of every full-time student, and as many part-timers as possible, to make full use of this unique opportunity—you part-timers could take the day off, it wouldn't bankrupt you.
Many students didn't join in (this "student apathy") because of a sense of "shyness" or "not-belonging-to-agroup." This has a fairly simple solution (indicated below), and depends on the organisation. Those who refuse to join in because they were ashamed to be associated with the whole idea, and refused to support it except by buying "Cappicadc" in order to justify their opinions (instead of trying actively to improve it by contributing something)—I pity them. And when I hear them openly express their views, I condemn them. Such disloyalty does riot impress the public, nor assist Varsity in any way. The organisation itself was passable, but could be improved a lot. The greatest failing in Capping as a whole was lack of continuity. It was scrappy and disjointed. The only really planned organisation was Extrav., and even that was, looked at with the rest of Capping, badly placed.
At present students have exams, right up to one or two days before Procesh. This leaves very little time to get into the Capping mood, and ready to join in, prepare a float, and enjoy oneself. Result—a poor Procesh and many spectators. Even on Capping Day students still have lectures, tutorials, and pracs., which they are reluctant, to miss. Could not regular Varsity work be finished the day before as a start? The time so gained would help make Procesh a real success. The only alternative would be to shift the Procesh. Day—this could assist in continuity.
If Extrav. were to be put on during the last week of term, and the first week of May vac., say, Thursday, to the following Wednesday (assuming Friday night would still be occupied with Capping ceremony), it could be used as a starter to help get reluctant students into the Capping mood. What about a Capping Hop every night after Extrav. from 11 till 2 or 3 in the morning? In the Gym., or, better still, in some vacant wool store of suitable size with a decent floor? They could be entirely free to students, and form an integral part of Capping celebrations. Supper could be bought there for a small charge. The band could be paid out of Capping expenses. If these Hops were entirely unrestricted as to dress and drink (with any deliberate damage billed to Capping accounts), the would generate in their own atmosphere all that is required to make a goad Capping. In a large enough store, students would be able to dance as they wish, or talk, or woo, or do what they like. I would be bold enough to suggest that these could all be done with the consent of the police if they were approached in a suitable manner.
If Extrav. and Capping Hops started Eke this during the last week of term, students would become enthusiastic about Capping—even students who are naturally shy—and get into the mood to take a full part in the activities of Capping Day itself.
Alternatively, Cappicades could be sold on Friday, and Procesh, held on Monday. This would give those building floats the extra weekend, and there would be no excuse for a poor show. Either way, Capping Ball could be held on the evening following Procesh.
If Procesh, were held on Monday, the Ball could be more formal, perhaps in the Majestic Cabaret, to allow for adequate preparations in the way of scenery and accorations. After all, we must give the graduates their due. A few [unclear: tices] and streamers, dimmed or coloured lights and cartoons improve the atmosphere tremendously. It would also be a big improvement if the band was to play a little more frequently towards the end of the ball, and not have fifteen-minute spells without a tune, Even canned music would be better than that. Nothing helps a ball to drag more than too long an interval between dances. And why not fruit salads, trille, pavlova, etc, for supper? There are caterers in the city who would do this at very little extra charge, if [unclear: day] It we do a thing at all, we should do it properly.
The Procession floats are based on a variety of topics and ideas, and yet most were contrived at the last minute. It would be of great assistance if a list of suggested topics or ideas were kept and made public, and as someone decides to use a particular idea and registers it, it could be struck off.
A Capping Band could be organised half-way through the first term. Surely there are enough people willing enough to join in. It wouldn't matter if they couldn't play very well, a little practice helps a lot. Capping procession should have a suitable climax. Instead of just drifting off back to Varsity, etc., why couldn't the procession lead up to something, say, a "Lord Mayor" making an appropriate address very carefully thought out, funny and pointed, from some suitable public building. This could be conducted in mock formal manner with all the trimmings, and I am sure there are debating club luminaries who would volunteer.
The need for an integrated Capping V.U.C. can be seen by comparing our present debacle with capping at Otago, Their great success is in large measure due to the enthusiasm with which the students approach it, generated in the main by the capping concerts and wool store hops which precede it.
Why should we not make better use of this opportunity and make a bigger and brighter capping next year?
(This article has been slightly abridged.—Ed.)