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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Student Events talks to The Hoot

Published: November 11, 2005
Section: News

Student Events (SE) is the umbrella group that puts on many well-known events such as theme weeks and concerts that occur each semester. The department of Special Events is in charge of organizing Louis Louis, the annual autumn theme week, as well as the complementary spring theme week known as Bronstein, which will begin April 2006.

SE is divided into seven committees: Finance, entertainment, major entertainment, films, publicity, services and special events. SE also works with Assistant Student Activities Director Sarah Bordeleau to coordinate events. It was first established in 1986, but certain events such as Louis Louis have been going on since the 1960s, run by what was called Student Programming.

The Student Events mission statement states that the organization is a volunteer student organization that supports the mission of Brandeis University by providing cultural, educational, recreational, and social programs designed for the entire Brandeis community, and Bordeleau said that Student Events main goal is to improve social life on campus and to just have fun events going on, on campus.

Director of Student Events Helen Pekker 06 said, We want to create options for the campus We really care about creating options for the campus and also hearing and seeing what students want.

Events so far this semester have been successful. SE reports that the Talib Kweli concert earlier in the semester had 1700 people in attendance and all special activities at the Boulevard in Usdan have been well received. The SE-sponsored movies have an average attendance of 70 on Friday nights.

Outside of the events that Student Events does, they also co-sponsor many events such as the Hurricane Katrina dance fest, which raised over $2500 for hurricane Katrina relief.

SE used to receive funding from the Student Activities Fee (SAF), which in previous years totaled one percent of tuition. However, over the summer, administration officials decided to make a separate Student Events Fee in addition to the SAF. An August 25 press release from the University states that though the Student Events fee has been separated, the combined total of the Student Activities fee and the Student Events fee remains the same rate of 1% of tuition. There is no increase in what students pay. Student Events will receive the same amount of funding as in previous years in accordance with the Undergraduate Student Union Constitution.

In past years theres been quite a few complaints about student events and we do realize that and every year we are trying to improve our image. Especially this year with the Student Events fee we really are trying to be as accountable as possible in terms of how we spend our funding. We have tons of surveys going out and we have had some already, said Pekker.

One way, new this year, in which SE will try and gain more input will be with a forum, held each semester in order to receive feedback from students. We really want to hear what students want on campus and were ready to provide that, said Pekker.

The more suggestions we get and the more constructive criticism we get, for each event that we have planned and for each event that we are planning the better we can adapt to the Brandeis community and live up to our mission statement to make Brandeis on campus community events as popular, as well attended and as serving to the whole community as possible, said Robert Marx, Assistant Director of Special Events.
Each of the seven committees that make up Student Events are led by an Assistant director and consist of usually two coordinators and volunteers. Positions within Student Events are chosen by a selection process at end of each semester, which includes applications and an interview process. All applications, interviews and ultimately position appointments are handled by those involved in Student Events at the time of the process, as well as Bordeleau.

Its not a selective thing, said Marx, regarding the SE applications. Its more trying to find where people will best fit within the organization Every applicant we have we take very seriously. We dont have a set number of people to accept, added Bordeleau.

SE has an AIM screen name, AskStudentEvents, and SE members hold office hours in order to make communication easier.