New committee aims to give students a voice at the Hop

by Trevelyan Wing | 10/25/09 11:00pm

The Hopkins Center for the Arts is in the process of forming a "Student Advisory Committee" in an effort to improve its relationship with students, according to Hop adviser on student relations A.J. Fox '09.

Fox is a former member of The Dartmouth Senior Staff.

"Students will engage in a hopefully frank discussion regarding their relationship with the Hop," Fox said.

The committee is to be comprised of student representatives from a variety of campus organizations who will address "issues facing students, relative to their participation and exposure to the arts at the Hopkins Center," according to the SAC's mission statement.

While still in the planning stages, the committee is set to meet for the first time on Nov. 17.

"A lot of energy at the Hop is being focused on new ways of connecting to students," Fox said in an interview with The Dartmouth. "We are a campus arts center, after all. Though we do a lot to serve the Upper Valley community at large, we have a unique relationship with the student body. We subsidize ticket prices and try to get their input on how to serve them better."

The Hop last had a standing student committee about five years ago, according to Fox.

"I'm not sure exactly why it isn't ongoing," Fox said. "A lot of student organizations come in and out, which is a possible reason why the previous SAC was disbanded."

The proposed SAC, Fox said, will focus on making programming more accessible to students and serve as an aggregator of student opinion regarding the Hop.

"The Hop has a long history of being involved with students and soliciting student input," he said. "There have also been some interesting developments in the last three years," Fox said. "For instance, I'm the third person to hold the position of adviser on student relations."

SAC membership will not be limited to students in the performing arts. A variety of student groups will have the opportunity to nominate a representative to serve on the committee, including cultural groups and athletic teams, Fox said, adding that the Graduate Student Council has also been approached.

"This is an indication that the Hop takes its role as a campus arts center seriously," Fox said. "We want and expect there to be student interest in this."

The SAC does not intend to address ongoing complaints by some students that performances at the Hop cater to the local community rather than students, Fox said.

"SAC was not in the past, and is not in this case, meant to influence programming at the Hop," Fox said. "It's really not the goal of the committee to discuss this. Programs at the Hop are inevitably going to appeal to different segments of the student community."

Fox said that the SAC's agenda is still being finalized.

"We're not quite ready to go public with that yet," Fox said.

SAC members may also take on small assignments to collect information for the group as a whole.

"If there's a particular issue that comes up in SAC, like accessibility for instance, we may solicit input on a more informal basis outside the meeting," Fox said.

Hopkins Center director Jeffrey James could not be reached for comment by press time.

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