It’s a Thursday at Castleton State College. At 5:30 p.m., activist Lilly Ledbetter will be speaking in the Campus Center. Afterward, Huden Dining Hall will host Pub Night, complete with live music, food and drinks. And finally, around 10:30 p.m., there will be an intramural Whiffle Ball game in the Shape Gym. All of these events will be free of charge.
However, when you arrive at the Ledbetter event, you see only about 50 people. In Huden? Approximately 15. And at the Whiffle Ball game, sure, the room is full, but it reeks of booze and marijuana.
For a campus of 1,800 undergraduate students, attendance rates at events like these seem low.
“When events are on campus, it’s hard to get students to attend due to athletics, clubs, mentoring, and other extracurricular activities,” said Student Activities Coordinator Melissa Paradee. “Students are overall, pretty busy.”
But when an event is scheduled almost every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, in addition to some scattered throughout the week, it’s hard to blame lack of attendance on always being busy.
So what is the problem then?
“I think the college can do a better job at choosing events. I have only been to like one concert and one pub night,” said Castleton senior Nicolas Bellizzi. “It’s just, I usually have a ton of work to do . or other obligations, like drinking with my friends.”
However, Belizzi did note one event that he particularly enjoyed.
“During my freshman year, Castleton staged the band Reel Big Fish. One of my friends got a petition going with a ton of names on it. It cost like $20 but it was so awesome,” said Bellizzi.
At Castleton State College, students pay a $120 student activities fee each semester to fund student activities. There is a 10-member Student Activities Committee that selects the events these funds will go toward. While some students argue that the committee does not do a good enough job picking events suited for the average college student, the committee argues that it is the students’ lack of initiative that is the problem, not their choice of activities.
“We chose from past events, so we know what students like,” said Assistant Director of Student Activities Jazmin Averbuck. “We also work with agencies who know what students like. I have also personally sat and listened to artists and comedians online for hours trying to decide which ones students would like.”
One activity that has attracted students is Monday movie night. Castleton has been working with Swank Motion Pictures to provide Castleton with newly released movies – some of which are presented here before released on DVD.
“There have been as many as 110 people at one movie. Our lowest number was 20,” said Paradee.
However, more high-scale performers like Comedian Ronnie Jordon are only drawing 20-40 people, and most just happen to be conveniently passing through Fireside Café after grabbing a late-night snack.
“When I went and saw Ronnie Jordan in the Campus Center, there was like 17 people there. Last week, I went to his show and there was over 1, 000,” said Castleton senior Robert Burge.
The committee has been utilizing new ideas this semester however, to try to satisfy student needs. Tickets were nearly sold out for the recent bus trip to Boston, which offered students a low-priced trip to a Red Sox game or a chance to just a walk around the city. After the success of such a trip, the committee hopes to sponsor more bus trips in the future.
If these events are not what students want to see, they must make this known, committee members said.
“If you want something done, do something about it,” said committee member Nicole Parker. “We can’t change anything unless we hear something is wrong. If there is something you want, find somebody on the committee or simply join the committee yourself. The resources are available.