There’s usually a pattern when it comes to who attends an on-campus event. If there’s free food or T-Shirts, Florida Southern College students show up. But even that isn’t always enough to gauge the interests of students, especially if the same few events occur every other week.
Of course some of these events are loved traditions. Eating pancakes while studying for finals, getting front row to huge artists at Southern Takeover, and getting free goodies at the booths of over 100 organizations at Blast Off are just a of the few events that have become staples of the FSC experience. But what happens after a student is in their fourth year at Florida Southern and looking forward to the Farewell Festival at the end of each school year isn’t enough anymore?
I will often scroll through Engage, Florida Southern’s event and organization webpage, looking for something to do on a weeknight after I get off work or during the day while I have a break in classes. Usually, the only thing that can grab my attention is a unique event I have never heard of, or if the Botany Cats are on Mr George’s Green.
Campus events are hosted by clubs, organizations, and most noticeably, the Association of Campus Entertainment.
ACE is a board of students that plans events for students. Their job is to find out what students want to participate in, and make it happen. Isabella Gargiulo, Vice President of Administration and Finance of ACE, wants to make sure that they go all out for every event.
“I feel like we really want to emphasize quality over quantity,” said Gargiulo about events that ACE is hosting this semester.
A recent event that impressed me was the Taylor Swift dance party hosted by ACE, which occurred the first week of school. Not only did I attend because I’m a huge Swifty, but I was excited to see that FSC had brought in Le Petite Fete, a pop-culture themed party company. I had been to a party they hosted before, and it was fun to experience that again on my school’s campus for free.
Sophomore Katrina Fink attended the event, and was happy to experience a fun, new event with friends.
“I absolutely loved it,” said Fink. “It was amazing to get to dress up and just hang out to sing and dance with my friends and some new friends I met at the party!”
By listening to what students want to participate in on campus, ACE cut some of their recurring events from last year that did not get much attendance, replacing them with new events recommended by the student body. Gargiulo said that events like these, where students can express themselves and get free stuff, always have the biggest turn out.
“We are really listening to the students,” said Gargiulo. “Like for Southern Takeover, we’re having a student committee, we’re doing focus groups and we’re getting student feedback…at the end of the day we’re all students that go here, so why would we make events that we don’t like or don’t want to go to?”
It is important for the student body to have events like this that are new and exciting. Students have a pretty regular routine of going to class the time days each week, having regular organization or club meetings, and the same shifts at their jobs. To help students thrive in their coursework as well as their emotional and mental health, they need to be actively engaged.
As the fall semester continues, it should be the school’s goal to keep students immersed in campus life to prevent burnout and provide an enjoyable student experience. While a big part of college is classes, it’s also about the atmosphere. Students need an engaging environment in order to thrive.