Staff team uses data to create party atmosphere
It all started with a survey, and Friday night, the college’s Student Involvement Team put the survey answers into action with the inaugural Griz Night.
Last spring, students received a survey, which featured a variety of questions about what students enjoyed most about campus and what they would change if they could.
“We had 472 students take the survey,” said Keri Ellington, assistant dean of students for student involvement. “We used all of the information we collected in that survey to plan every single thing you see this school year.”
Ellington said everything from welcome week to Student Entertainment Board events were planned based on that student survey feedback.
“Because 472 students took it, we felt pretty good about making decisions based on that,” she said.
After hearing comments from students that Franklin College suddenly became boring after two fraternity houses closed, the Student Involvement Team asked students whether the closing of the fraternity houses diminished the fun and social life at the college.
Data shows that 57 percent of respondents said the closing did contribute to a loss of fun, while 17 percent answered “somewhat.” Another survey question asked students if they would perceive an event as more fun if alcohol was served, and 60 percent of the student body said yes.
Ellington, along with Student Involvement Team members Taylor Dwyer, Judy Yarnell, Natalie Dilbone and Jenna Martin, collected data from the survey and used the summer to brainstorm ideas to provide a safe environment for students to have a party with the potential use of alcohol.
That’s when Griz Nights were established.
“Griz Nights is a new weekend programming series that we are doing once a month,” Ellington said. “What we’re basically doing is we’re hosting a registered party once a month.”
Each party features a hired DJ and a theme. Ellington said Friday night’s Griz Night was more elaborate than the others may be.
The team hired Operation Glow, an ultraviolet paint party company, for Friday night’s glow theme. Operation Glow set up a stage on Dame Mall’s ellipse with black lights and provided paint.
All funds used for the event came from the student activities fee account, which is made up of each student’s activity fee as a part of their annual payments.
Ellington said her vision for the October and November parties include a DJ, a contest and whatever else students may request. The plan is to provide alcohol at the October event to get a feel for how it goes.
Junior Kayla Majors walked into Elsey Hall Friday sopping wet with paint slime from the party.
“The best part of the night was everyone’s reaction to the color being sprayed at them because it was cold,” Majors said.
Ellington said 128 students attended the event, a number she was very pleased with.
Some students were not happy with the college’s decision to make the first night a dry event without alcohol.
Senior Claire Sheets did not attend Friday’s Griz Night, but said she would consider attending the future events if they featured a cash bar and the drinks were affordable.
“People who are of age could bring their own alcoholic beverage,” Sheets said. “There could be a bracelet code for people who are of age. It’s all about drinking responsibly and monitoring the students.”
Senior Seth Westendorf said he would have preferred a student panel host the event as a way to gauge what students really want.
In the future, Ellington said student organizations will have the opportunity to co-sponsor a Griz Night, allowing students to choose a theme and decide on activities.
“We’re trying to take the burden off of student organizations to feel like they have to do this all, staff it all, come early, stay late, set it up,” Ellington said. “We want all of our students to be able to enjoy this.”