Collis After Dark sees high attendance in second year

by Jorge Bonilla | 10/31/13 7:01pm

Since its introduction last fall, Collis After Dark has increasingly sought to provide social alternatives to the Greek system, seeing steady attendance despite the end of the six-week ban on first-year students entering Greek houses.

David Pack, assistant director of the Collis Center for Student Involvement, said students have shown a significant interest in events since he joined Collis in July, following the departure of Danielle Lajoie.

“I think one of the comments that we often hear from students is that they feel that there are limited social and entertainment options, so that’s where we focus,” Pack said. “I have not had an event yet where I have been disappointed.”

Student attendance has been high, with most events averaging around 100 attendees and many surpassing the 400 mark.

Attendance rates have been unaffected by the end of the Greek Leadership Council’s policy on first-year students, which banned freshmen from entering Greek houses until October 14.

“There was no drop in attendance after the freshman Greek ban, most likely because our attendance is well-balanced across class year and affiliation status,” Collis intern Zachary Myslinski ’15 said.

Events such as casino night and a concert featuring electronic duo Timeflies proved especially popular. The Timeflies concert on Sept. 28, cosponsored by Programming Board, saw a crowd over 2,500, and approximately 500 students attended the afterparty in Collis Common Ground.

The programming series has seen a diverse portion of the student body attend its weekly events.

“I think there’s a perception out there that these events are for ’17’s, but we’ve seen a large cross-section of the campus,” Pack said.

Myles McMurchy ’16, who has attended several events, said they appeal to a variety of students.

“Some events seem more geared toward freshmen, such as the Halloween ghost tour, while others probably appeal to a larger crowd, such as dance parties or spoken word,” he said.

Pack estimates that 40 to 45 percent of event attendees are upperclassmen, including many who are affiliated with the Greek system.

He said he hopes that these events are attractive to all students, and that the programming provides “expanded social and entertainment options,” but is not necessarily “alternative programming.”

Collis After Dark and the Greek system serve different purposes as social spaces, McMurchy said.

“It’s kind of hard to compare them,” he said. “Programming typically ends before most students would leave frats on a given night.”

Students can apply for mini-grants through the Collis Center to co-host an event in Collis Common Ground.

Several groups received grants so far.

One group proposed bringing in bands from other colleges, and Men’s Forum and Women’s Forum will co-host a mixer for first-years on Nov. 8 in One Wheelock.

Collis After Dark will continue collaborating with student groups to program events that will interest the general campus.

“I think we’re really happy with where it is now,” Pack said. “We’d like to see it become a cornerstone of the student experience.”

Collis After Dark will host a relaxation night in Collis Common Ground on Nov. 9, with massages, an oxygen bar and tea tasting.