Event Participation Starts and Ends with Students

Byline: Janessa Demeule

Posted: June 8, 2010

A young woman stands in front of an empty floor. Off to the sides there are six, maybe seven people politely listening to her sing after a handful of students already left. Though they occupy the space these students are talking to one another and not giving her their full attention. Her soulful wails echo off walls and fall on deaf ears, she could just leave, yet she sings on for the small group of listeners. This was the scene at the recent Wilson College Spring Fling which begs the question, where is the student participation?

A Lack of Student Participation on Campus

Just like many other colleges, Wilson College arranges activities to get the students to interact with one another in a friendly atmosphere. However, these events show poor attendance. Even larger events such as Spring Fling and White Dinner lack student participation. But why? On May 5, a survey was conducted asking the student body what they thought about student participation and the events themselves. The survey asked students how often they participated, how well they find events promoted, if there is a better way to promote events, and what it would take to get them to participate more.

The results of the survey were surprising, out of 800 students attending Wilson, only 68 students responded to the survey. When asked what could be done to get you involved, one Women with Children student responded, "I would be able to come if I had a reliable baby sitter. My girls need to be asleep at the usual time of the activities, and I don't have anyone to stay with them." Other students who live nearby or have a family to take care of felt neglected and listed that as a reason for not attending activities. The survey also concluded that students are aware of events yet choose not to participate.

How Events are Planned

To understand how the student events are handled Laura Harmyk, Campus Activities Board (CAB) treasurer, was available to interview to help explain, "We promote events by posting fliers and posters around campus, sending invites in the mail and through e-mails. We raise money with the dinners for the guests, campus clean up and apportionments. People complain on how things look, the types of food or even the themes. If they want to change something, all they need to do is join CAB." She brought up the point that for events such as White Dinner, students poorly voted to the theme of the dance, yet were disappointed in the final choice. The money collected from campus clean up paid for the young singer at the beginning of the story to perform. Students didn't need to pay to see her because they already had.

Changes to Increase Participation

To return to the lonely singer at the beginning, is there a way participation can be remedied so it doesn't happen to another performer? Is it possible to get students to participate? There is not one single solution to the issue, however, there are a few that can be made at this point: the first solution to bettering student participation at the events is to get them involved with the event itself. The second step would be to collaborate with outside groups, such as other colleges with similar event groups. This would allow new bonds to be created and allow better funded activities to take place on campus. But this is not up to CAB. alone, for a change this big it requires the student body to work together so that everyone is happy, and bigger and better events can take place in the future here at Wilson.

Last Updated: September 25, 2011

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