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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

New name, new face: Changes to the Campus Activities Office

<om the people who brought you New Student Week, Halloween Concert, Mid-Winter Ball, Golden Schillers/DVDfest, Movie Buses and the Noon News Bulletin: there will be another change in the Carleton community.  Beginning Fall Term of 2010, the Campus Activities Office (CAO) will cease to exist.  In its place in Sayles 160 will be the new Student Activities Office (SAO), headed by a group of students known as the Student Activities Programming Board (SAPB).  “Campus Activities is essentially an out-dated term,” said Lee Clark, Director of CAO.  “Student activities is more tailored towards the student.  It also reflects the shift in services, as things like ‘Lost and Found’ and transportation which were formerly a part of the office are now handled by the Info Desk and Campus Services.”

Currently, CAO is run by nine Program Assistants (PAs) who complete a variety of tasks.  These include the publishing of the Noon News Bulletin (NNB), planning trips and events, managing the Sayles banner and table reservations, assisting with Sayles dances, and checking out games and equipment (from Guitar Hero to Green Bikes!).  In addition to planning the aforementioned events and excursions, PAs approve trips sponsored by the Metro Arts Access Fund.  For this weekend, CAO has approved three student-proposed trips to the Twin Cities: one to Orchestra Hall, one to the Minnesota Zoo, and another to the May Day Festival at the Heart of the Beast Theatre.  Upcoming CAO programs on campus include the end of term study break in the Library Athenaeum and Senior Week.  CAO also supports other student organizations on campus, including but not limited to: Carleton Student Association (CSA), Student Union Movie Organization (SUMO), KRLX, The Cave and the Social Programming Board (SPB).  And of course, CAO provides students with free popcorn every Friday.

Keeping track of the student body’s activity on campus can be hectic, especially when nine people must share the logistics that come with implementing an event.  Next year, the SAPB will employ 14 PAs, each with his or her own focus.  Positions pertaining to marketing and graphic design will help advertise all programs run by SAPB. The publications PA will edit and assemble the Noon News Bulletin and the Lagniappe.  PAs for Art and Film, Intercultural Programs, Outdoor Programs, and Music and Dance will handle events pertaining to their respective categories.  The heads of The Cave and SUMO will also meet with SAPB once a week to help coordinate events and manage a budget.  This way, a major band at the Cave won’t conflict with a newly released flick at SUMO or large campus events like Mid-Winter Ball.  In order to encourage more participation in the major events on campus, PAs for SUMO, Special Events, and Music and Dance will head their own committees of student volunteers.  Clark and Nadine Sunderland, Assistant Director of CAO, will continue to oversee and advise the PAs, but SAPB will ultimately be run by student employees and their committees of volunteers.

How will students be affected by these changes?  Nearly all of the same programs from this year will return in 2010-2011. “The new system that the Campus Activities Office is implementing, aside from saving everyone a lot of time by distributing work across more people, will help prevent over/under-scheduling of events, essentially ensuring that there is always something to do at Carleton,” said CSA Vice-President Isaac Hodes ’12.  “We’ll get much more bang for our buck and this change will reduce a lot of the stress of making sure that everyone has enough money and all the information they need for their events.” The ACT Office employs a similar structure.  “With many different programs to oversee and projects to work on, dividing the responsibility ensures accountability as well as providing a greater support system for everyone involved, ” said ACT Student Coordinator Joe Marren ’11.  “The ACT Center runs smoothly because each Student Coordinator has a different but essential role, and I think bringing this type of structure to Campus (Student) Activities is a great decision.”

Not all students are convinced, however.  “Changing the name from ‘Campus’ Activities to ‘Student’  Activities makes it seem like they’re trying to appear like they have less power than they already do,” said Jon Kittaka ’13. 

The hopes for the new system are summarized in the SAPB’s mission statement, as follows:

“The purpose of the Student Activities Programming Board is to develop and coordinate a variety of social, recreational, cultural and developmental programs and services.  Collectively, these programs and services are designed to challenge beliefs, educate others, inspire the individual, entertain the soul, and create a sense of campus community and pride.”

-Haley Johnson is a first year student and program assistant in the Campus Activities Office.

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