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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

A look at the new Sayles Dance system

< be able to captivate and engage the Carleton community as well as Saturday night Sayles Dances. That’s why Campus Activities has taken steps to ensure that the events remain a highlight of Carleton’s social scene by reworking the requirements to host a Sayles Dance.

As reported by Nadine Sunderland, assistant director of Campus Activities, in the past, to throw a Sayles Dance, students (three or more) simply had to fill out an event registration form and meet with the Campus Activities director, explaining their desire to host. The form students had to sign made them liable for everything occurring during the dance.

The registration form indicated that students should be prepared for “uninvited guests, violation of College policies, Federal or State laws, and how to receive medical attention to be needed, just to name a few.” Some of their responsibilities included assuming responsibility for the actions of guests, making them liable for the cost of any damage done if no one could be identified as the perpetrator.

This specifically was problematic because Sunderland reported that most incidents were caused by visiting students. These high expectations caused a decrease in Sayles Dances because so many students were intimidated by the standards set for them.

To make sure that Sayles Dances are a continued tradition, this term Campus Activities has implemented a new application process for potential hosts. Students now have to apply to host a Sayles Dance by the end of the previous term, with dates already set. The application seeks to evaluate students’ creativity, marketing plan, collaboration and appeal. It also helps students become more familiar with the logistics of planning an event in terms of dealing with funding and marketing.

This term the applications of organizations and students picked to host a Sayles Dance were reviewed and selected by three CSA members and nine program assistants, keeping the process student-run and organized.
There are numerous potential benefits of this new application process. Ellen Morehouse ’10, a Campus Activities program assistant, said students feel more supported. In the past, she said, students felt like they were just being thrown into planning such a large event.

Campus Activities recently engaged all the hosts for this term in a workshop dealing with various issues they may encounter while hosting and how best to deal with the situations. Three program assistants from Campus Activities are assigned to each dance, allowing more people both to facilitate and organize.

“Hosts know that they can come here if they have any questions and there are three program assistants to each dance,” Sunderland said. “This term it worked out perfectly because there are nine program assistants, three for each dance.”

The workshop also explained expectations of hosts, which include: setup, promoting the event, risk management, remaining sober throughout the event and making sure to clean up afterwards. The fact that the events are planned ahead of time allows for less concern with the cleanup process because students can request that Campus Activities secure the funding for facilities to take care of it.

According to Sunderland, with hosts planning ahead, students now have the opportunity to attend more creative Sayles Dances.

“There are girls planning a Lady Gaga dance, and it’s really exciting because they have all these really cool ideas for advertising and music,” Morehouse said.

Campus Activities only reports one potential downside to this new process: the lack of encouraged spontaneity. Previous to this process, students could come in on a Thursday and request to host a Sayles Dance that Saturday. With this new process, that option is completely eliminated.

This term there will be three Sayles Dances, hosted by both organizations and individual students. This weekend, Ebony II will be hosting the first Sayles Dance. Seventh weekend Heather McPherson ‘10, Annie Eckhoff ‘10 and Megan Mileusnic ‘10 will host the first ever Lady Gaga-themed Sayles Dance, followed by Whoa, who will host the last dance of winter term ninth weekend.

The benefit for hosts, especially organizations, is that by hosting a dance, they get the opportunity show themselves to the Carleton Community.

“They get recognized for their efforts,” Sunderland said.

This new application process for Sayles will also be implemented for next terms potential host. Dates for spring term Sayles Dances will be announced ninth week, and applications will be due by the end of the term.

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