By Aldo Macias Arellano
It is fifth week of spring quarter and one would believe that the student body of Kalamazoo College knows how the Student Activities Fee is used. While working a shift for “Free Smoothie Mondays” in Hicks, I noticed that most students who walked past the Frelon tablers on their way to the dining hall were oblivious to the reality of FREE Frelon tickets—made possible by the implementation of a new Student Activities Fee at the beginning of this school year.
This observation induced me to reflect on this past weekend’s “Zoo After Dark: the Electric Zoo Party”. As a Hick’s Event Staff student-worker, I noticed that this event turned out to be a popular one, bringing in a total of 260 students. Zoo After Dark Events usually have an average attendance of about 40-50 students. Is there something wrong with this? I do not think so.
I do believe, though, that there is a disconnect between the student body and the Office of Student Involvement. The Student Activities Fee is $312 dollars per school year ($104 per quarter), and was created to increase the types of resources that go into planning campus events and therefore improving the quality of these events.
Assistant Director of Student Activities Kate Yancho mentioned that not all of the money from the Student Activities Fees goes to the Office of Student Involvement, but only a small portion. She said that the majority of the money goes to the Student Commission. The portion that does end up in the Office of Student Involvement has indeed improved the quality of campus events, like the quality of catered food. Because of the new fee, student organizations on campus are not allowed to charge students to attend their events. Hence, those FREE Frelon tickets.
The idea for Electric Zoo was introduced to Student Involvement by sophomore Tyler Benmark. Other students like Alex Olech were involved in the same event-planning process as DJs. Promotion for the Electric Zoo Party was not limited to Facebook; student DJs highly encouraged other students to attend their event through their own excitement and word of mouth. I say “their event” because it was an event that successfully sprouted from the seed they planted. “Tyler Benmark is a perfect example of how students can work with us in the planning of events,” said Kate Yancho.
This article is a recommendation to the Office of Student Involvement to make greater connections with the student body of Kalamazoo College. But largely, this article is meant to encourage the student body to take advantage of their Student Activities Fee as Benmark and the other students involved in the Electric Zoo Party did.