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Lack of student participation postpones SAC events

Two events scheduled for the last few weeks were cancelled and are tentatively rescheduled for the spring semester.
Bouldering, an event sponsored by Elevate, was officially cancelled Oct. 19, after only a handful of people bought tickets.

Kelcie O’Donnell, director of Elevate, said, “I hated calling it off. That is the sickest feeling. I wanted to see it happen, and I felt like I failed, even though it was outside of my control.”

Meanwhile, Vibe planned to host a Murder Mystery Dinner event Friday, Oct. 26.

Austin Harms, Vibe director, said while his team was in the planning stages of the event several months ago, they decided to reschedule for the spring. This allowed time over Christmas break to make better arrangements with Aramark for the catering, and also avoided a conflict with the Fall Festival in the Cafeteria that night.

The event was not removed from the University-wide calendar, however. Both Harms and Danielle Keller, coordinator of student activities and orientation, called this “an oversight.” They also attributed it to the fact that the fall calendar is usually planned and published by late spring, while other factors continue to affect events up until days before they occur.

“I hate canceling events, but sometimes we have to,” said Keller. “Each semester, events move and change. We try hard not to cancel, but it happens.”

Keller explained how carefully the departments on campus strive to not create conflicting schedules for students. While scheduling conflicts inevitably happen, she said, “We are trying to be collaborative with groups on campus to see what they are doing.”

Other events were rescheduled as well. Harms mentioned the Freshman Fling, which was originally supposed to be at the very beginning of the semester. His team chose to delay the event a few weeks to allow word to get out better, and had “a huge turnout that packed out the J. Alvin atrium” as a result of their decision.

Sometimes events change in popularity.

“We take chances on our events. Some are more highly attended than others, and that can change from year to year,” said Keller. “When I was a student, people put a lot of effort into MICE and TWIRP activities. It was kind of big deal.”

In contrast, when SAC brought the event back last year, only about six groups total participated by submitting videos of their dates.

Other events have had a much larger attendance than expected. Some movie nights last year had a mere 30 or so students show up.
When Vibe sponsored the showing of “Blue Like Jazz” last Thursday, the Berry Performing Arts Center was nearly filled.

The SAC directors gave several recommendations for students who do not want to see their favorite events cancelled or rescheduled:

  • Get involved by helping plan and volunteering at different events.
  • Do not just complain. Share your concerns with those who can do something about them, especially the directors.
  • Plan ahead and purchase tickets early rather than waiting until the last minute.
  • Tell your friends about events you are excited about.
  • Give suggestions of ways to advertise and plan better in the future.
  • Remember, these are your fellow students who are pouring their hearts and souls into planning these events.

O’Donnell said, “Students, especially upperclassmen, should not check out of events. I want to encourage them to appreciate the opportunities still available. Don’t push things off, be proactive and pay attention.”