5C Party Scene: How Students Learn About Weekend Events

Not knowing about a party isn’t something one can blame on an invitation “lost in the mail” anymore. In fact, because the 5C party scene is open to all students, the invitation is implied. So when the weekend comes, why are some students still left in the dark about where to go after dark?

Each of the 5Cs has methods in place to provide reliable information to its students about weekend activities. However, these methods have various degrees of success, leaving some students relying on word of mouth to find out about events matching their interests.

Pitzer, Claremont McKenna, and Scripps advertise their events through weekly e-mails. Miranda Gonzalez-Brown PZ ’14, Pitzer’s Student Activity Committee Co-Social Chair, takes on the responsibility for her campus.

“Most Pitzer events have a lot of student advertising,” said Gonzalez-Brown, citing flyers, Facebook groups, and Pitzer’s Student-Talk e-mail system as sources of information. “My job is to comb through it all and post the weekend’s events in the weekly e-mail.”

However, Gonzalez-Brown recognizes flaws in the system.

“I start looking for the next weekend’s events by Monday, collecting info from Student-Talk, taking photos of event flyers on my phone, jotting down notes in my planner,” Gonzalez-Brown said. “Unfortunately, it is hard to hear about everything in advance. Some events don’t always get their advertising together in time for the e-mail.”

Similarly, CMC’s e-mail notification system is headed by the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC), and the messages are written by Student Activities Chair Will Brown CM ’12. Scripps Associated Students (SAS) member Lili Salzberg SC ’12 is responsible for Scripps’s e-mail. Under the subject line “Weekend’s Here… Time to get SASsy,” students can find information on events in the coming week, with a focus on Thursday through Sunday.

“Each year the update is slightly different based on the person that is writing it and their personality,” Salzberg said.

However, the general idea of a weekly e-mail hasn’t changed in her four years at Scripps.

“I have gotten positive responses from students,” Salzberg said. “I think people appreciate having all the information in one place.”

However, neither Harvey Mudd nor Pomona have found weekly e-mails to be the best solution.

“We used to have a mailing list that students could subscribe to to get weekly party e-mails, but it was rarely used and no one subscribed to it,” said Lindsay Hall HM ’12, Associated Students of Harvey Mudd College (ASHMC) Social Chair. Now, Mudd relies on a HMC Social Facebook page instead.

“I think the Facebook page is a nice way that students who care about this information can find it, but people who aren’t interested don’t get spammed with e-mails,” Hall said.

The former Pomona weekly e-mail, The Weekender (which included both 5C events and community events like movie showings and museum exhibits), was discontinued at the end of last year for similar reasons, but a new information distribution method has not yet been perfected. When Christopher Waugh replaced Neil Gerard as Pomona’s Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Smith Campus Center (SCC) July 1, he met with students to get feedback on SCC activities.

“I routinely heard students indicate that they received too many e-mails from SCC that they didn’t read,” Waugh said. As The Weekender took five hours to make each week, the e-mail was canceled in favor of a new student service, Collegiate Link.

Collegiate Link is a website that includes a community board and allows students to join organizations and view announcements on specific group pages.

“In theory, Collegiate Link fills the gap [left by the discontinuation of The Weekender], but it will impact the community only to the degree to which the community embraces it,” Waugh said.

Unfortunately, the community has yet to fully embrace Collegiate Link, and in the meantime Pomona students lack a comprehensive events service. Darrell Jones III PO ’14 was part of the Pomona Events Committee (PEC) last year, and he had taken it upon himself to send out Facebook invites for 5C events to Pomona students.

“I began that process with an eye to promoting inclusivity among my peers,” Jones said. “I know it sounds corny, but I really wanted my classmates to feel like they belonged to a community. I wanted them to know that everyone played an important role in promoting a fun and inviting social scene.”

This year, Jones left the PEC for personal reasons and said that “Pomona students are largely in the dark about 5C events.” Without his friends at other colleges, Jones believes he “would have no idea what activities were happening across the 5Cs.”

However, resources do exist to keep Pomona students in the loop. Last semester, Brian Fung PO ’13 created http://www.eventpomona.com “with the intent of keeping Pomona College students up to date with upcoming parties and nightlife,” though the site has since expanded to include music concerts and club activities.

Fung said the reaction has been positive to his event calendar website, where students can submit events they know about or are hosting. On average, over 400 students view Event Pomona each day.

“The new Collegiate Link site seems very limited and doesn’t seem to be catching on,” Fung said, also commenting that The Weekender had been useful, but often missed events. “I think one of the strengths of Event Pomona is that it provides students with a simple easy-to-access list of the current day’s events all on one page. Plus, it doesn’t clutter your e-mail inbox.”

Waugh remains determined to increase Collegiate Link’s use this semester. Pomona staff will be working on initiatives to get organizations and the community to use the social media site more regularly.

“[Collegiate Link] is a powerful new social media format, and I believe it just needs time to gain traction, pick up momentum,” Waugh said.

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