Going into THON, Overall Technology Chairperson Andrew Ogburn (senior-information sciences and technology), said only 20 people should be waiting in line at a time.
But that wasn’t the case for most of the weekend.
By Saturday morning, some students had been waiting in line for about five hours before being able to get on the floor. At one point, the line stretched from Portal 14 to about Portal 1 — or about half of the concourse level of the Bryce Jordan Center.
The virtual PASS system for dancer visitation on the floor of the Bryce Jordan Center during THON was labeled as “inefficient” by THON Overall Public Relations Chairwoman Kirsten Quisenberry.
Despite the long lines, Quisenberry (senior-public relations) said the system did not crash during the weekend. Instead, she said the large amount of visitors caused backlogs that forced multiple changes between the old “first come, first serve” system and the virtual system.
This year marks the second year in a row when the THON floor pass system has been associated with long lines, as well as frustrated parents and friends of dancers.
Last year’s virtual PASS system, the same system used over the weekend, collapsed Friday evening in 2011. It was never repaired, and the system remained on a “first come, first serve” basis throughout the weekend.
She said the switches were implemented based on which method would allow people onto the floor in the quickest, most efficient manner. Several times, the backup happened because the floor reached capacity for visitors, and many more were waiting to receive texts to get their passes, she said.
The virtual PASS system was intended to create a virtual line on the concourse and to eliminate any congestion.
When the virtual system went down throughout the weekend, visitors had to stand in line to wait for passes, Quisenberry said. Again, capacity limitations forced visitors to wait for long stretches — sometimes hours at a time — to obtain a pass.
Many students who wanted to support dancers on the floor were outraged by the inconveniences presented by the system’s inefficiency.
On Friday evening, Alex Keiter said members of Circle K got in line at 10 p.m. Keiter (sophomore-mechanical engineering) said the schedule they made up for the group would no longer be able to be in place for the weekend.
“We didn’t expect [the system] to back up,” he said. “A lot of people weren’t able to get on the floor tonight.”
Robert Dewey, a member of the Newman Catholic Student Association, said the system prevented his organization from seeing its dancer regularly.
“It’s not very fair to our dancer,” Dewey (senior-economics and international studies) said.
Tiana Cowan and Trish Casey, both Class of 2011, said they were eager to support the dancers they knew — but the pair waited for more than two hours in line before being moved to another line for their floor passes. Cowan said the “extra long and unnecessary” wait risked leaving their dancers without the motivational support they expect throughout the weekend.
Casey, a member of the Irish Club, said that the small size of the organization puts their dancers at a disadvantage when compared to those from larger organizations with more members to visit.
Looking ahead, Quisenberry said THON officials will work to resolve kinks before THON 2013.
“I’m sure it’s going to be improved and I’m sure they’ll spend all of next year working on it,” she said.
Collegian Staff Writers Christina Gallagher, Trevor Hornby, Sam Janesch, Lynn Ondrusek and Jess Tully contributed to this report.