Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed the titles of Janae Cruz and Hallie Crawford. Their titles are Coordinator for Student Engagement and Coordinator for Student Events, respectively.
Would you like to see a recent movie without ever leaving campus (popcorn included)? Want to belt your heart out at an open mic night? Craving some breakfast food?
You can do all this and more with the Student Events Board, also known as (seb). (seb) plans about 120 events every semester, excluding Quadmania, the week-long spring festival which typically includes a carnival and a concert, among other things. Hundreds of students put in countless hours meticulously planning these events for the enjoyment of the student body.
Janae Cruz, Coordinator for Student Engagement, is advising (seb) while her colleague Hallie Crawford, Coordinator for Student Events, is on maternity leave. Typically, Cruz’s position involves coordinating first-year programs, such as the first-year experience and Welcome Week. In Crawford’s absence, however, Cruz has worked with (seb) more closely.
Cruz, alumna of University of Maryland, College Park, enjoyed getting involved (particularly in leadership positions) during her undergraduate years. She appreciated the advisors that helped shape her experiences and wanted to serve in that role for other undergraduate students.
“(seb’s) role is to help contribute to the student experience on campus,” said Cruz. “We want students to feel at home at UMBC.”
The organization is split into two groups: the executive board, comprising of 17 students and the general body, comprised of over 100 students. The executive board members meet each Monday evening in addition to the general body meeting earlier in the day. Board members do much of the background work, while general body members staff the events alongside board members.
All board members put 10 hours into the organization each week and are compensated with a stipend for the semester. Board members are either programmers, who plan events, designers, who produce flyers, or marketers, who promote on social media. Each of these sections has a vice president that oversees the board members’ work.
One or more board members must be present at every event. Board members choose events to lead and serve as the primary point of contact. These are chosen about one month in advance. They take the lead role on planning and managing the general body members who staff the event.
Some of the smaller events (such as movie night in Lecture Hall 1) only require one board member, but larger endeavors such as homecoming are ‘all hands on deck.’
The board member in charge of each event is required to fill out an evaluation within 48 hours of the event, indicating how the event went and how a different day, time, or other thing could make it go more smoothly. These are reviewed by vice president of programming, senior interdisciplinary studies major Charra Wudtee. When planning the semester’s events, (seb) leadership looks at their calendars from past semesters and reflects on what worked well and what wasn’t so popular.
For the first time this semester, (seb) is introducing general body chairs, which allows for a bridge opportunity between a general body members and board members. These students, while still members of the general body, will have more experience working with board members and taking a leading role in event planning to give them an idea of what being a board member is like. Board members are typically hired during the second half of the spring semester from general body members.
Students on the board constantly strive to make their events more relevant and enjoyable for the student population. At events, students’ red cards are scanned. This participation-tracking measure allows board members to analyze the populations that are coming to certain events. This way, they can target events towards certain student populations and plan events that will have a greater turnout.
Events must be planned far in advance. During the last two to three weeks of a semester, the board plans the events for the following semester. This must be done ahead of time so the semester calendars can be printed. Board members submit suggestions for events, which are then voted on by the board. Dates and chosen and the calendars are made.
All events are listed on a spreadsheet, where board members indicate the date and time, budget, location and details for every event. They also use this to keep track of the resources and supplies they have ordered.
Of course, the student events board cannot do everything on their own. They work closely with Commonvision, whose staff members print all of their calendars, flyers, and tickets. Tickets for events such as bus trips are sold at the Commons Information Center. The buses are for all trips excluding New York City are organized through UMBC transit.
The hard work of the student events board and its partners affects more than our majority Maryland-native students. Brenda Carr, a sophomore business information systems major at NUI Galway in Ireland, is spending this semester at UMBC for study abroad.
“My college at home doesn’t organize trips,” she said. “As an international student, it’s great to see all the events at trips at a good price – especially the tourist attractions.”