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2011 AnTostal springs to life

Sam Stryker | Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The 44th AnTostal began Tuesday without the wild entertainment of the past, but students can still celebrate the Celtic festival of spring with free food, giveaways and merriment this week.

Sophomore Sadaf Meghani served as the co-programmer for AnTostal 2011, which runs April 26 to May 1, along with sophomore Ashley Markowski.

This year’s AnTostal theme, “TV Guide,” was a natural choice, Meghani said.

“It really just fell into our lap. As we sat in the SUB office the first or second week of the semester, the posters of past events plastered all over the wall just inspired us to go with ‘TV Guide,'” she said. “It’s a broad enough theme so a variety of ideas can fall under its umbrella.”

Of all the events planned for this AnTostal, Meghani said there are a few she is especially anticipating.

 “I’m really looking forward to Speed Dating and the Carnival,” she said. “However, more than anything else, I’m so pumped about the Augustana concert this Saturday. I’m really looking forward to hearing their songs ‘Boston’ and ‘Sweet and Low’ live.”

The tone of AnTostal has changed over the years, as University regulations reshape what is allowed.

“AnTostal was much more lax back in the day. When Ashley and I were looking at the old AnTostal booklets from the [1980s], there were events such as Beer Gardens or Jell-O Wrestling,” Meghani said said. “Nowadays, rule and regulations and a risen standard of conduct have made it difficult for us to relive those days.”

A number of University organizations make decisions about the final AnTostal schedule and regulate the events.

“All events, from the Carnival on Tuesday to what quotes we cut up and put in the eggs for the Easter Egg Hunt, are checked and rechecked by SAO or by Amy [Geist, the assistant director of Student Activities,]” she said. “It’s all a matter of keeping the reputation and standards of the University as a priority.”

Meghani said AnTostal began in 1967 as a way to celebrate the upcoming summer break and the return of warm weather to South Bend. While University regulations are stringent, she said this year’s event would still provide the traditional entertainment.

“Although AnTostal changes from year to year depending on the programmers and the dynamic of the committee, the foundation of celebrating a well-deserved summer break has always been at the core,” Meghani said. “In years past, rules and such were not so strict, and as generations pass, we are held at a higher and higher standard.”

Meghani said this year’s AnTostal is one day shorter than in the past because the last full week of classes, when the event is traditionally held, fell on a shortened week after Easter break.

Meghani said she and Markowski began planning the event before winter break. 

“It definitely takes an immense amount of time, dedication and passion. You really have got to love to get people involved, to foster community, to be proactive and, most important, to have a good time,” Meghani said. “You’ve got to juggle a million things at once and still keep your head on the right way.”

The festival features events hosted by a wide variety of campus organizations, clubs and residence halls, and Meghani said planning AnTostal involves a lot of communication.

“The key to AnTostal is delegation. The clubs and dorms on campus have been incredibly helpful and enthusiastic about getting involved,” she said. “It really makes it easier on us, but moreover, it’s a healthy boost of encouragement knowing others have your back.”