Ice Cream Drop Cancellation

by Asa Brown

The Ice Cream drop, a perennial tradition in which seniors have an opportunity to drop ice cream on their siblings in the high school, is likely to be cancelled.

Citing wastefulness as its reason, Community Board has no plans to continue the event, but no final decision has been made.

There are clearly good reasons for the cancellation. According to members of Community Board, there has been lots of pushback ever since the event started.

Effectively, the event serves little purpose other than, as prominent Community Board member Hannah Weinberg puts it, “food waste for humor and comedy.”

Anna S added that, “in the global community, there’s lots of food insecurity and it reflects poorly on us to do the Ice Cream Drop.” The clear verdict from Community Board at this time was that when a tradition becomes harmful towards other people, they have to change it.

Others, however, defended the event. Student body president Jack M was clear that he was a “full supporter of the Ice Cream Drop.” Despite clearly having the unpopular opinion among his fellow representatives, he defend his opinion by saying that “there’s not a lack of ice cream in the United States, there’s a lack of money below the poverty line” and that “if we’re wasting money, wasting it on ice cream isn’t any different than on something else.”

Others suggested compromises, including using slime to drop on students, buying on expired ice cream, or even having a student funded Ice Cream Drop.

Ultimately, it was clear that the discussion was about more than one event. Community Board had to ask “What are the goals and values of OES and community board?” and “What is the message Community Board wants to send out?”

On the one hand, Community Board events are almost always rather lighthearted, and are not intended to be integral to the student body — such events, much like the Ice Cream Drop, serve as a short break from the predictability of the school day.

Alternatively, though, it is fair to see the Ice Cream Drop as unacceptable. It certainly is a waste of food (and, arguably, resources), and some feel that OES should not continue to sponsor an event that seems to ignore the issue of food insecurity purely for the sake of tradition.

The Dig will have more on the topic as Community Board’s decision-making process unfolds.


3 thoughts on “Ice Cream Drop Cancellation

  1. I don’t actually think I was the person who said that sentence. But I do agree that when a tradition becomes harmful, or rather when the harms of a tradition become evident, we have no choice but to change.

    Jack’s description of wasting money on ice cream versus anything else is, in my mind, an oversimplification of the issue. The ice cream drop is an overt waste of resources, in a community space, during community time, with the entire upper school community as a captive audience.

    The act of dumping food products with no intention of consumption is shameful, particularly so for a community that seems to value the awareness of food insecurity, with things like Project Second Wind and Humble lunch, as well as service day partnerships with Meals on Wheels and other organizations that deal with the very real population of food insecure people in the greater Portland area.

    I think Community Board needs to do a better job of thinking about the values we illustrate with our events and the values we want to promote, along with how we use our resources to do so. We need to return to the StuCo constitution and the role of CoBo outlined there: hold events that “promote school spirit and build a vibrant, inclusive community through safe and responsible activities.” What value does the ice cream drop bring that cannot be replaced by any number of other community events?

  2. Hello Aardvarks,
    I would argue that my defense for the ice cream drop was not an over-simplification. Perhaps it is in the context of how my quote is analyzed in this article, however, the arguments that I outlined later in the meeting are more reflective of my actual views. When the suggestion was made that we should get rid of the ice cream drop because it was a waste, I disagreed. In the United States, there is no drought of ice cream, nor food for that matter. However, there are far too many people living under the poverty line, who do not have the finances necessary to put food on their table. I would agree that the ice cream drop is wasteful, in that the money that we would be spending on the ice cream could go towards feeding hungry families. It’s important to keep in mind that the ice cream drop is not wasteful because it is food, but because it is worth money. Many community board members suggested that we do a slime drop instead. But isn’t that wasteful too? The money that we would be spending on slime, lets say it only costed ten dollars, could make or break a families ability to put food on the table. So shouldn’t that idea be just as morally troublesome as the ice cream drop? And we can go one for days critiquing OES for spending money on things that they don’t need, and in the grand scheme of things it seems silly to start the conversation with the ice cream drop. I understand that to an outsider, seeing seniors make ice cream sundaes out of their siblings could be a shock. But to me, at this point the ice cream drop has become an issue of perception. Should we really be ending a tradition just because it seems bad, even when there is no significant moral difference between it and many of our other day to day rituals (there are plenty)? I have no strong opinion about the ice cream drop. The idea is funny, but not that funny and it makes a huge mess. I just want to make sure that we are covering all of our bases when deciding to cancel a tradition that many people love. This is a great opportunity to have a community conversation. Enjoy the rest of your weekends.

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