Author: Olivia Landon
Students and administrators created the Social Life Task Force in response to the moratorium on dances last fall. The group aims to expand the variety of social activities available to a frustrated student body, including smaller on-campus events and school-sanctioned off-campus parties.
Undeclared task force member Jamie Stevenson (sophomore) emailed Director of Student Life Tamara Rice at the beginning of this semester, eager to change the current social conditions. He stressed students’ dissatisfaction with the college’s social environment since the implementation of the dance ban.
“There’s definitely been a lot of complaining from the student body. People aren’t happy about it. I’m not happy about it. But I do see why [Rice] did that,” Stevenson said.
Rice announced the dance ban after eight alcohol-related transports at the Oct. 26 Toga dance.
“I just wanted students to think differently about the social scene and to think differently about what we can do that’s fun, that a lot of people will enjoy, but just not get too crazy,” Rice said. “Yes, there is a ban on dances. But there’s not a ban on concerts, or poetry nights, or comedy shows or DJ show cases.”
There have been no transports associated with college events since Toga, according to Rice.
The task force set a goal to reintroduce dances next September or October, according to Stevenson. For now, the task force is brainstorming new ideas for social events. Taking inspiration from the well-received Jan. 31 Groove at the Glen hosted by KOXY, the task force is optimistic about creating smaller, more diverse social events on a more consistent basis.
Undeclared ASOC First-Year Senator Mary Fulham volunteered to lead the task force and has been considering what kinds of events will interest students.
According to Fulham and Stevenson, prompting consistent, diverse options on- and off- campus is the goal of the task force. Rice believes this will not be difficult, given the college’s location in a major city.
“The other thing is: It’s not like we live in Iowa. We’re in Los Angeles! And I know Bengal Bus does late night safe rides on the weekends, and they have like a 10 mile radius. And 10 miles gets you pretty far into L.A.,” Rice said.
For students, the cost of getting off campus is often a consideration in making plans and staying on campus is often easier, according to Fulham. The task force aims to strike a balance between encouraging students to go out into Los Angeles and providing frequent programming on-campus.
“I guess what I don’t want is for students to be just be sitting on their laurels and going, ‘Woe is me,’ and ‘There just is no fun and my social life is terrible,'” Rice said.
In addition to generating more events, the task force is also considering how to allow house parties more breathing room by having houses register parties with Campus Safety.
“What registering means is that the house will tell Campus Safety that we are having a party and it will go from 10 p.m. until 12:30 p.m. and Campus Safety will agree to shut down the party at 12:30 p.m., but we will let it go on until then. And ideally we could communicate that information with the residents of the house, Rice, Campus Safety and the residents of the neighborhood,” Stevenson said.
According to Rice, making Occidental a school where alcohol related transports are rare, if not nonexistent, will require students to take ownership of their personal and shared experience at social events.
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