The unsung heroes of campus programing
Myki Dee Kim, Staff Writer
If you have attended a Saint Martin’s school dance featuring DJ Rad, bingo with the highest of stakes, packed the pavilion, or even played a round of quirky trivia in the café, you have enjoyed the work of Saint Martin’s University’s Campus Activities Board (CAB). This team of eight students work tirelessly to ensure that the campus is always full of life and excitement.
In 2018, Campus Life rebranded their campus-wide programming committee from Programming Specialists (PROS) to Campus Activities Board. Currently led by Alexis Nelson, Director of Campus Life, CAB members plan about 60 to 80 yearly events that reach a wide range of students each academic year.
The CAB team consists of seniors Isla Barlet, Andrew Garcia and Nicole Neilson; juniors Jocelyn Bonilla, Ashley Taylor, and Kaylee Wolfe; and freshmen Kristal Lim and Cheyenne Yap. These students come from a diverse array of academic disciplines, backgrounds, and interests, but share one common goal: to provide quality programming for the Saint Martin’s community. Individually, CAB members contribute an average of 10 hours per week purely dedicated to creating and implementing events. In total, that is 80 hours a week and roughly 320 hours a month put into planning, not including the time commitment of events themselves. In addition to time spent planning, CAB members are required to have weekly hour-long meetings with CAB Lead, Andrew Garcia, to discuss upcoming events, ideas, and program preparation, as well as monthly team meetings. For each activity, there is always one lead individual who spearheads the event and one support team member who is there to provide assistance in whatever way possible.
This is the first year that the activity board has had a CAB lead. Garcia is the individual paving the way for future student leaders to come. As a commuter student, Garcia became a CAB member to enhance his involvement in the community. This position has helped him as he hopes to pursue a career in higher education, focusing on retention rates for minority students, and those from marginalized communities.
Garcias’s role differs from other CAB members, as he does not lead or support any events, but rather, organizes the logistical side of things, including ordering supplies, printing fliers, scheduling and leading meetings with the entirety of the activities board. His favorite thing about being a CAB member is how much he loves the work, and the impact it has on student and community development.
As one of the longest members of CAB, Garcia hopes that the increased community engagement he has seen during his tenure continues, and that the university will make an effort to hold more events.
Every fall, the CAB team attends a national conference solely dedicated to campus activity programming. The National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) brings together professionals and campus activities board members from across the county to engage in student development training. At the conference, the Saint Martin’s CAB team also recruits talent to invite to campus, such as poets, hypnotists, bands, and magicians.
When the opportunity to be a part of CAB arose, Wolfe decided to apply for the position.
Wolfe noted, “I was extremely hesitant at first, but I love being a CABbie!”
Wolfe loves developing her leadership skills and knows that what she learns as a CAB member will be very helpful in her career as a future teacher. Wolfe loves the people she meets in her work, and recounted how she encourages people to give their feedback and ideas to CAB members, since they love creating events tailored to Saint Martin’s students.
With all the marketing that CAB members do, this position jumped out to Bonilla as a Business student concentrating in marketing. She was looking for “a fun on-campus job that would help [her] develop the skills [she needs] to thrive in the marketing industry.” Her favorite thing about being a CAB team member is designing promotional items, such as shirts, and having the ability to plan exciting prize giveaways.
As graduation approaches, Barlet had looked into event planning as a future career choice, and the many opportunities event coordinating offers. With this being her first year as a CAB member, she has been able to develop her skills and ability to work with different campus offices and student groups.
Her favorite thing about being a CAB member is the freedom to plan events, while also having support from advisors and the CAB lead in case any issues arise.
Barlet loves that events are tailored to students. She stated, “Whether it’s based on socializing, learning, or just having fun, all of our events are created specifically to serve a purpose for the Saint Martin’s community. Attend different events. They might not be for everyone, but they might be for you.”
Aside from the work they do for the campus community, CAB has become an integral part of each member’s life. For Taylor, CAB has helped her truly become a Saint. During her first year at Saint Martin’s, Taylor planned on transferring out, but later changed her mind, saying, “CAB demonstrated to me that the work I am doing is so important and is an opportunity I would not have at a lot of other campuses.”
Taylor also noted that having the ability to impact students’ lives in such a positive way, as well as being able to work with her best friend, Garcia, makes it all worthwhile.
Many people attend Campus Life programs without thinking of all the work required to make the event possible. The CAB members make it look so easy, when in fact there are many components to successfully creating and implementing different programming ideas.
All CAB events are required to have an event risk management plan. This plan details every possible thing that could go wrong during an event and includes the steps to be taken if such things occur. A risk management plan covers everything from technological difficulties to severe injuries.
These types of events have also helped with university retention rates over the years, as shown by a correlation between higher retention rates after CAB was introduced.
Lim and Yap are the youngest CAB members, but both are so excited and happy that they applied for the position. Lim noted that even though she had only joined the CAB team this semester, she still gets the same rewarding feeling after every event.
Yap has always been enthralled with the event planning world, and has always wanted to be a wedding planner. Similar to Lim, Yap noted that it is very rewarding to witness each event unfold and be successfully executed. She is extremely thankful for her CAB team, and is extremely grateful for Nelson and Garcia, who believe in her and continually push her to be the best that she can be.
The Campus Activities Board members’ tireless work ensures that events on campus are put on by and for students. With hours of work put in before, during, and after each event, CAB members are the unsung heroes of Saint Martin’s campus life. These members of the student body go above and beyond to ensure the campus is a place full of expression, excitement, and joy.