Exeter College enjoyed its inaugural ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy Day’ on Monday this week in a fresh attempt to sweep away the notorious Fifth Week Blues.
The day aimed to boost morale in Exeter mid-way through the term in a variety of ways, ranging from free ice-cream to Youtube videos to live music and comedy.
The day was conceived by the current JCR President Benjamin Clayton who commented, “As JCR President I had the crazy idea one day in summer that we could have a whole day of events, activities and giveaways to make people happy. Nothing else, just happiness!”
To achieve this happiness, Clayton told Cherwell that “The brilliant Oxford Gargoyles performed for free, and G&Ds gave us 180 portions of ice cream without charge, just because they believed in the day. We gave out sweets in everyone’s pidges, emailed hilarious and heart-warming youtube videos every hour, and at welfare tea it was everybody’s birthday, with each person blowing out their own candle.”
One of the highlights of the day was comedian Ben Target, who was nominated for best newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe. Clayton commented, “Having a comedian crowd-surf and playing beach volleyball in the ancient hall was a real experience!”
The event has been met with enthusiasm, with Michael Hart, Senior Fellow in Politics at Exeter commenting, “Don’t Worry Be Happy Day is a jolly good idea” and Che, manager at G&Ds asserting “We’re delighted to have been involved with the day and we’re happy it went so well!”
Member of the Oxford Gargoyles Henry de Berker told Cherwell “I thought it was great fun. We have a member from Exeter so, naturally, we received a full brief on targets in the audience who needed to be cheered up in particular. It was a really nice hall to sing in, and I feel like we got a good reaction.”
Students reacted positively, with Thomas Coy commenting, “morale was definitely boosted and any potential dip after 5th week was effectively combatted.”
It is also hoped that this could inspire future events in a similar vein. Coy commented, “There has definitely already been talk of potentially doing another such event in the future, which would be amazing, and maybe it will even begin to spread to other colleges.”
Clayton summed up that “As JCR President I was delighted to see my vision come off and everyone having such a great time. We genuinely made people happier, there was a fantastic community spirit, and we’ve created a new approach to tackling mid-term blues. DWBHD will have a lasting impact on the JCR. It showed that when people come together and enjoy themselves it makes the moments that we’ll remember for years to come.”
Shortly after the event, however, Exeter suffered a tragic loss. Clayton commented, “The next day Exeter was hit with the tragic passing away of one of its most beloved members, and this same sense of community came together stronger than ever in celebration of a true friend and wonderful person.”