Due to a perceived lack of student interest and low attendance rates, the Pomona College Committee for Campus Life and Activities (CCLA) has decided to eliminate its Themed Parties Committee.
According to Vice President for Campus Activities and CCLA Commissioner Kayleigh Kaneshiro PO ‘10, CCLA’s themed parties have struggled to get attendance in the last three to four years.
“Not a lot of people come out to the events, and if they do come out, it’s usually Pomona people,” Kaneshiro said. “It’s really frustrating when you’re putting all this effort into an event and you do all the advertising you can possibly do and there’s not any attendance. I think we should put our resources toward something the students actually want more.”
Kaneshiro proposed to eliminate themed parties after discussing it with CCLA Advisor Ellie Ash and other members of the committee. The Themed Parties co-chairs, Meredith Willis PO ’11 and Caroline Rubin PO ’12, also supported Kaneshiro’s proposition.
“I see this as a good thing because this loss of dead weight will create fresh positions within CCLA, and by cutting Themed Parties we will be able to use our money more efficiently,” Willis said. “We might throw fewer parties, but more successful ones.”
According to Rubin, a portion of the funding that was usually reserved for themed parties will be diverted to Annual Events, which will allow CCLA to throw a few larger parties that will attract more students.
“It’s just difficult for Themed Parties to throw all-out big parties because we have a fairly limited budget,” Rubin said. “Usually when we end up throwing parties they’re smaller and you don’t get the big draw. You can never compete with a big Harvey Mudd party or a big CMC party.”
In past years, the Themed Parties Committee was given roughly $10,000 to put on two to four events per semester, and the committee spent about $2,000 per event. Among the parties they threw this year were a Welcome Back Party, a Michael Jackson Party, an Alice in Wonderland Party, a Neon Party, and a Valentine’s Day Party co-sponsored with Claremont McKenna College.
Since the Welcome Back Party has been popular in the past, Kaneshiro said CCLA would continue to host that event through the Annual Events Committee.
CCLA has also decided to absorb Symposium, which until now has been run independently and funded in full by the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC).
“The reason we decided to take on Symposium is that Symposium receives all its funding from the ASPC,” Kaneshiro said. “It just makes sense for Symposium to become a part of CCLA because they will get more institutional support from the college.”
The total funding that has previously been reserved only for themed parties will be redistributed to Symposium, the Annual Events Committee, and the other various committees within CCLA. Next year’s Vice President for Campus Activities Frank Langan PO ’11 will also be given an additional $1,000 to throw an event at his own discretion if there seems to be a gap in the Pomona social life due to the elimination of themed parties.
However, Kaneshiro does not expect that eliminating themed parties will create a gap, especially since CCLA has not put on many themed parties this semester and there has not been much noticeable backlash.
“When I see my calendar I feel like I still see things going on every weekend at Pomona’s campus,” Kaneshiro said. “If it doesn’t work out next year and we see that students are wanting themed parties again, or there is some sort of lack in our social environment, they’ll reconvene, think about it, and see if they want to bring it back or add another committee along those lines.”
Not all students agree that eliminating themed parties is necessary. Cat Ulrich PO ’11 said she thinks themed parties would be more successful if there were better communication between the five colleges.
“I think it’s unfortunate because themed parties have been successful in the past,” Ulrich said. “It just hasn’t worked out this year. There needs to be more coordination. A lot of our themed parties have failed because they have fallen on the same nights as other parties at the other campuses, which have laxer alcohol policies and better spaces for parties.”