By Thomas Mattes
Through rain, hail and temperatures dipping into the mid-30s, students prevailed to celebrate the end of the academic year this past weekend. Despite the date change from the traditional Saturday to Friday, the Social Board-sponsored Sendoff concert, which included performances from Kenyon bands and the highly-anticipated STRFKR and Big Boi, was an unqualified success, according to Lianne Castile 13, who co-chairs Social Board with Sarah Schiller 14.
[I] was happy with how everything went, especially considering all our reservations with the event and all the students reservations, she said. The weather may not have been great, but people were still hanging out and enjoying themselves. Were really glad that it got off the ground.
Social Board provoked controversy earlier in the semester when it announced Summer Sendoff would move to Friday to accommodate the packed schedules of bigger-name bands. In response to the date change, members of Student Council formed a subcommittee to plan a Saturday event called Castaway that ultimately gained the approval of both the Business and Finance Committee (BFC) and Student Council to hold the event last Saturday, April 28.
While the date change was originally a source of contention amongst students and administrators, Director of Student Activities and Greek Life Christina Mastrangelo saw it as a good fit for Social Board. Having the event on Friday reduced associated costs, gave Social Board the ability to concentrate on the concert and really just focus and do the best job possible, she said. I also thought [having the event on] Friday allowed students to have the weekend and do what they want with it; they could either continue to socialize or get to work.
Friday was amazing. Social Board was extremely satisfied; staff and students reacted extremely well, Mastrangelo said. It was the easiest Sendoff in recent memory. There were few incidents or problems, and, unlike in previous years, students ate food, enjoyed the concert and engaged in all the activities provided.
Mastrangelo was doubly confident that Fridays success proved that we dont need to start drinking at nine in the morning to have fun, to have this sense of community and to engage enthusiastically in everything Social Board set up for us, she said.
Castile, Eric Schulkin 13, the other incoming co-chair of Social Board, and Schiller worked together to direct and maintain Sendoff. Schulkin felt there was an overall positive reception to Big Bois performance that night.
He had a lot of energy, and everyone really seems to have enjoyed both sets, Schulkin said.
As for Student Councils Castaway event on Saturday, Student Council President Ryan Motevalli-Oliner 12 said, Everything that we could control worked out. The weather may have factored in a bit, but everything else went really well.
Indeed, though Saturday was hampered by poor weather conditions, by early afternoon students had ventured to South Quad, though in significantly fewer numbers than the afternoon before.
Junior Class President Ryan Liegner 13 headed the subcommittee of Student Council that organized and ran Castaway.
It was a bit slow at the beginning because it was raining well, it was hailing but by 1:00 p.m. we had a bunch of people out there having a good time, he said. All our volunteers showed up; in fact, we had an overabundance of volunteers. We never had to call up reserves or anything. In the end, people toughed it out, and in our minds as long as people were staying out, hanging out wed be there cooking up quesadillas.
Liegner was also proud of the combined efforts of various groups on campus. In the end it wasnt just Student Council, it was the work of the community at large, he said. On Saturday, we had PEAS [People Endorsing Agrarian Sustainability], Greek organizations and all sorts of volunteers.
Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper stated that this year had the fewest incidents of disciplinary issues for a Summer Sendoff in a long time. There was not a single transport to Knox Community Hospital for intoxication or other medical emergencies, compared to three visits last year.
The Knox County Sheriff and undercover officers from the Ohio Department of Liquor Control were present to control any unforeseen circumstances, and there were only two citations from the Sheriff compared to something like six to eight last year, Hooper said.
That doesnt just make it easier for Safety, it makes a better day for the staff, for Social Board, for administrators and especially for CAs [Community Advisors] a lot of people forget about the CAs, Mastrangelo said.
Hooper also said there was a shift in mood compared to previous years. Students were polite, respectful [and] appreciative of what Safety does, and our officers appreciated that greatly, he said.
Maybe that had to do with the shorter day, but also it seems like the students this year took more care to see the warnings from Social Board and Campus Safety, Hooper said. They looked out for themselves.
Though Castile and Schulkin were not involved in Castaways planning, they made their support clear, saying that Social Boards mission is for students to have fun and have a good time on weekends a goal Student Council tried to embody in Castaway as well.
Mastrangelo was not so sure of Saturdays success. It seemed kind of dead, so Im not sure that it warranted the amount of money spent, she said, referring to the $3,194.40 budget.
Mastrangelo also questioned the fairness of Student Council organizing an event, saying it is not Student Councils responsibility to plan events, especially since Friday was a success, and since their portion was a bit less successful they should stick to what they do best, governing campus life rather than event planning, she said.
Now that Sendoff and Castaway are over, Castile and Schulkin are already preparing for next year. Next year we are just going to try to bring the best performer we can, whatever day Friday or Saturday that ends up being, Castile said.
Motevalli-Oliner also said Social Board had free rein over Sendoff. Social Board has the right to do whatever they think will bring about the best event possible, he said.
Liegner agreed. [Student Council was not] trying to set a precedent, this was just something that happened Castaway was put together because there was a group of like-minded people who saw a situation and thought it could be improved, so we acted on that, he said.
Early next year, Student Council will sit down with Social Board and see what they want to accomplish, what the students want accomplished and try and achieve whatever is in everyones best interests, Liegner said. Thats a conversation that were confident will go well.
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