By: Tameka Bazile | Pace University | Extracted from CLT Summer 2014
We all face the same dilemma. Every year a new class of Undergraduate students enter college, all prepped with somewhat of the same ideas in regards to what college life is. Us, on the university student affairs side, know different things. Fun, for us, lies in a packed programming schedule with everything from “do it yourself” novelties to off campus trips. But how do you handle students who think campus life is nonexistent when there is no party this weekend?
It’s obvious that sometimes programming boards and committees need to think a little bit outside of the box in order to bring students together. With this, I find that embracing the partying culture does indeed help. Do you need to throw your own shindig? Maybe not. But add some party-like flare to your events and see how many students you attract with (A) some good music and (B) a little bit of food.
Some events can stand to be more like a block party and less like craft time in preschool. Try making your novelty events outdoors, on the green or in a large area like your student center. Campus lawns and student centers are usually areas bustling with activity so invite your campus radio station or a student DJ to pump up the crowd. The music will draw them in but by the time they leave, they’ll know that it was a programming board event. Plus, using campus organizations like the radio station or DJ are both great ways to keep the costs low, build great relationships and make a great name for your programming board.
Can you afford to host a party yourself? Then go for it! If your school rules and budget allow for it, host a party yourself. Get a great DJ, an empty gym, and maybe some lights and do it up! It’ll show your campus community that programming board does listen to their requests and if it’s a good turn out, they’ll trust your judgement on other events. Don’t change the idea, just work with it! Be the bendy straw!
I know that it’s easy for us to fight the students need to party. My programming board spent a lot of time going against the students on the importance of parties or even how fun a party is in comparison to our events. But each year, it’ll get more and more difficult and each fight gets more exhausting. We finally concluded that we must create the fun they want to see, even if it isn’t exactly the atmosphere they want it to be in. You can’t convince them that your events are just as fun but you can show them. Students also need to be able to trust that your programming board will give them the amazing on campus experience that they will remember. What you need to remember as well is that you have to trust your students. So after you get them on board, let them help steer the ship!