New College Programming Board Puts Students in Charge

One small step back for the Dean of Students Office means a big leap forward for the student body - for the first time in the history of Claremont McKenna College, the money appropriated through the Dean of Students Office for student activities will be in the hands of those that benefit from it. For as long as any student can remember (and even many alumni!), Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Activities Jim Nauls has been in charge of putting together events for students on campus. During a recent Board of Trustees meeting, however, it was brought up that perhaps the beneficiaries of these events, the students, should have more of a say in the use of the Student Activities funds.

Thus the CMC College Programming Board (CPB) was born. According to their mission statement, the CPB is a group of elected representatives who plan to bring "concerts, special events, lectures, comedians, and more" to campus this year. The board consists of elected members from each dorm on campus and is chaired by Christina Khavarian (2012). As the year progresses, the board will divide into sub-committees to develop and run both on-campus activities and off-campus activities.

This semester, as the students learn the ropes, the board will focus on hosting the events rather than planning them. "I already have a ton of events lined up for this Fall," explained Dean Nauls, but he hopes that the student energy will help him to hold an event every night of the week this Fall - a goal which he has been working towards for years. "I'd love to have something every night of the week, but I just can't be at all of the activities," he explained.

Come spring semester, the tables will turn: Dean Nauls will be taking the backseat and the board will be taking the reins. Both planning and hosting activities will fall in the hands of students. And, while the ideas that the board comes up with will remain top-secret until then, as Khavarian explained, "we already have two whole pages of ideas just from the first meeting."

The CPB is also separate from the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College. While the Programming Board may coordinate some activities with ASCMC, the CPB is not taking the place of the Student Life Council, the Dorm Activities Committee or any other student run organization at CMC.

The College Programming Board will also help the Dean of Students office hear feedback from students about events. While Dean Nauls does get students dropping in from time to time saying how great an event was, he noted: "I don't get many negative comments." Hopefully, with the board hearing inputs from students all over campus, criticisms of activities will be better heard.

CPB has already hosted a number of events including a Dodgers game, a trip to the Getty Museum, Glee showings, laser tag in McKenna Auditorium, weekly movie screenings in Pickford Auditorium and many others.  They are also hosting the "all-you-can-eat" Kogi Truck on Thursday, October 6 at 10:00PM. Other, previously unannounced, events include a bus and subsidized tickets to Knotts Scary Farm, another bus and subsidized tickets for Wicked playing at the Pantages Theatre, a buffalo wing-eating contest, Hangar 18 rock climbing and other activities.

Some concerns have been raised about how Khavarian was chosen as the Chair of the CPB; indeed, there was no election process this year. Dean Nauls explained that she has worked in his office, helping him run events for several years now. When it came time to put together a student group like this, it made sense to turn to her. "I've been working with Jim Nauls for ages," assured Khavarian. As Jim explained, she will not have any more say in the events than other students on the board--rather, the Chair is in charge of coordinating the sub-committees and day-to-day communication with him and his office.

Dean Nauls weighed in about the drawbacks of a system with so many moving parts: "It was easy when I could just say yes, let's do it" to an event. Now, with the new CPB, ideas will have to go through many more people to become a reality. Even so, Dean Nauls chuckled as he said that "my job is about to get way easier…maybe I won't have to be here every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night!"

If you have any comments, ideas or suggestions for the College Programming Board staff, email them at cpb@claremontmckenna.edu or leave comments below.