Kelly Carew ’10 remembers her first year on campus when she spent many weekend evenings hanging out at Rall Hall. “My friends and I would struggle to come up with something to do on the weekends,” she says. “Now it’s a habit that we go to programs on Saturday night—the campus has become alive.”
More opportunities to socialize and create fun have led to a more vibrant campus atmosphere, an important change noticed by students like Carew. Weekend events are now purposely designed to entice students to stay on campus and take part in a livelier weekend environment. Comedians, improvisational groups, hypnotists, music groups and residence life events fill weekend nights with options for social gatherings in addition to sports and fine arts events in other campus venues.
“We’ve made a focused effort that on Friday nights, residence life staff plans an event while College Union Activities Board (CUAB) schedules on Saturday nights,” says Amy Clarke ’03 Sievers, director of student involvement. “I remember talking to the students who are now seniors and leaders in CUAB and asking them to take a leap of faith to add events every Saturday night. Now they don’t remember what it was like when nothing was planned.”
One of the most significant changes started in fall 2008 when Sievers’ office began sponsoring Saturday evening hours until midnight at the Cage. “SNAC,” or Saturday Nights At the Cage, includes food, board games and giveaways. It’s become a popular place for informal gatherings after other entertainment options come to an end—and attendance averages 65 students each night.
“There’s always something going on here during the weekends and after going to one of these events, it’s fun to meet with friends and head over to the Cage for board games or to simply hang out,” says Kevin Williams ’13. “Another bonus is the constant resource of food and drawings for gift cards!”
CUAB now sponsors 45 programs per year, nearly double the number of just a few years ago. With the addition of activities planned by residence life staff, students could participate in 125 weekend events last year, ranging from educational programming in residence halls, to social activities like a Pants Party when guests were judged on their goofy attire, to performers like Mission IMPROVable to trips off campus to professional basketball and baseball games. Over D-Term, students could join events planned almost every day for three weeks.
Adds Carew: “The change in campus atmosphere from my first year to my senior year is like night and day.”
North Central NOW Spring 2010