New Dillo Day entrance policies require adult chaperones for younger guests

Dillo Day, which will be held June 1, will be more heavily restricted from high school attendees this year than in previous years. Mayfest said the event last year saw fewer problems after the group enacted new entrance policies.

Daily file photo by Meghan White

Dillo Day, which will be held June 1, will be more heavily restricted from high school attendees this year than in previous years. Mayfest said the event last year saw fewer problems after the group enacted new entrance policies.

Jeanne Kuang, Assistant Campus Editor

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Non-Northwestern Dillo Day attendees under the age of 19 will be more strictly monitored with a new wristband policy, Mayfest announced Tuesday.

Like last year, Dillo Day guests who are not registered by a NU student will need to be accompanied by an adult. This year, that adult must be 25 or older. NU students will only be permitted to register four guests, and only two may be under the age of 19. Under-19 guests will be registered under the contact information of their accompanying NU student or over-25 adult and given different wristbands that link to the chaperone’s wristband through a serial number.

“The adult can’t leave Dillo Day,” said Mayfest promotion co-director Bri Hightower. “They have to stay at Dillo Day with their guest.”

The Communication junior said this system is meant to ensure under-19 guests could be tracked back to an adult.
This is the second year that Mayfest has enacted policies to restrict the entrance of guests under the age of 19. The policies began as a result of the physical, alcohol-related or medical incidents that came with a rising number of local high school students attending Dillo Day in recent years.

“The reason why we were targeting under-19 guests specifically was because we’ve seen that a lot of these problems … were coming from these under-19 guests,” said Jesus Roman, Mayfest’s director of university relations. “We wanted to limit that population and track how many people came.”

Last year, NU students could enter Dillo Day with a WildCARD. Guests had to have a wristband proving registration with an NU student or a state ID proving they were over 19. The minimum age of accompanying adults for under-19 guests last year was only 19 as opposed to this year’s 25.

In addition to limiting NU students to registering four guests, up to two of whom can be under 19, Evanston adults over 25 also can only register up to four guests under 19.

“It was very visible that there weren’t as many high schoolers and weren’t as many problems as years prior,” Roman, a Weinberg senior, said of last year’s Dillo Day.

Mayfest worked extensively with the University administration “every step of the process” to develop its new policies, Mayfest co-chair Wil Heintz said.

“It’s a gradual process that we’re trying to fine-tune,” the Weinberg senior said.

Co-chair and Communication senior Jeremy Shpizner called the refining of the regulations a “collaborative process” and said Mayfest often met with Burgwell Howard, assistant vice president for student engagement, to discuss the policies. Mayfest also met with University Police.

“We have to check in with them and make sure we’re hitting all the concerns,” Shpizner said.

Weinberg freshman Erik Baker attended Evanston Township High School. He said in high school, “countless students from all grades went to Dillo Day.”

Baker said he has mixed feelings on the high school-targeting policies.

“I definitely don’t think that having unrestricted high school students is a huge problem,” he said. “I can’t remember any big safety incidents. I do think that Dillo Day is a Northwestern event.”

Heintz said Mayfest must strike a balance between safety and “making sure Northwestern students can come and go as they please.”

“Ultimately this is an event that is paid for by Northwestern students for Northwestern students, and we want to make sure first and foremost that our students are enjoying it as much as they would like,” he said.

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