CGB changes focus for social events this term

by Lily Fagin | 11/7/12 11:00pm

Collis Governing Board has not hosted dance parties or concerts this term, despite receiving increased funding from the Undergraduate Finance Committee in both 2010 and 2011 to provide more non-Greek social events on campus. Among involved students and administrators, there is little consensus as to the exact reason why there has been no large event, though all acknowledged that there are many obstacles to CGB hosting large parties with alcohol, and some cited the redundancy of the Collis After Dark program as a reason for the lack of parties.

CGB chose to focus on continuing to fund weekly events such as Microbrew Mondays, musical performances and wine and cheese events with professors, CGB co-chairs Nianyi Hong '13 and Ishita Kala '13 said. Hosting a party each term is not necessarily feasible because of the difficulties involved in planning and obtaining the necessary support, according to former CGB member Tanaka Mhambi '11.

Former CGB member Yan Fan '11 cited adherence to demands from administrators as one difficulty involved in hosting large "club-like" dance parties.

"The [Social Event Management Procedures] rules that we have to follow were created for the Greek system, where there's a lot of binge drinking and irresponsibility in general," Fan said. "It was difficult to skirt around those because a lot of the staff had trouble believing that the parties that I would throw didn't have the same problems that a frat party would have."

Because of the time-intensive nature of planning and navigating the College's rules and specifications, Fan said that CGB was "like another job." A lack of sustained commitment from other members and lack of support from the administration placed most of the burden on individuals in charge of organizing, she said.

Apart from the significant commitment, successful CGB programming also requires specific knowledge about hosting parties, from mixing drinks to planning menus, Mhambi said. A lack of members with experience specifically in bartending can make hosting parties difficult, Fan said.

"I guess part of the reason it's different this year is because I'm not there," she said. "I was training people before I left to take over for me, but I really wasn't getting any support for that."

The changes in CGB programming are due in part to the creation of Collis After Dark, according to Hong. Collis After Dark is a Dean's Office initiative aimed at providing accessible and inclusive programming for a wide range of student groups between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., Collis After Dark supervisor Danielle Lajoie said. The events hosted by Collis After Dark and Collis Governing Board frequently overlap, Hong said.

"They're starting with this whole Collis After Dark thing, and a lot of the things that they do are things we've previously done," Hong said.

Other current CGB members said that Collis After Dark plays a minor role in determining CGB programming. CGB has avoided large parties to avoid risks associated with events with alcohol, rather than to avoid conflicting with Collis After Dark, according to Kala.

"It's kind of like an internal risk management policy," she said. "We don't want to get into any trouble."

Collis Center for Student Involvement Director Eric Ramsey contrasted the missions of the two groups and said he would readily explain the role of Collis After Dark to confused CGB members to clarify the differences between the roles of the two organizations.

Operational differences also exist between Collis After Dark and CGB paid employees and interns run Collis After Dark, and student volunteers organize all CGB programming, according to Lajoie. She said that CGB receives funding from "sources dedicated to student organizations," while Collis After Dark is a pilot program and receives its funding from the Dean's Office.

Collis After Dark aims to cooperate with other student-run organizations, rather than competing with them, Lajoie said. By working with a greater variety of student groups, Collis After Dark can reach out to students that would not normally attend their events, she said.

"We love to sponsor events with other student groups because we don't have a huge budget and can't throw large parties all the time," Lajoie said.

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