Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

CAB entertains students, struggles with declining membership

Campus Activities Board (CAB), the student organization that puts on events like the Cobweb Carnival, the bi-annual Drive-In Movie and Casino Night, has been struggling recently to attract new members and retain old ones while at the same time serve the student body.

Putting on an event like the Cobweb Carnival requires many hours of preparation, numerous committees, meetings, volunteers, shopping, set-up time and clean-up time. Yet the organization, which in the past has had 20 to 25 active members, now has only 15 members who regularly show up.

According to CAB co-chair junior Kali Stoehr, despite low meeting attendance, the CAB listserv has more than 90 recipients.

The CAB Web site defines the organization as “a committee of volunteer students that sponsor a variety of entertainment programs for the campus.” Its mission statement clarifies that it seeks to put on “successful events [that] bring the Whitman community together through alternative social activities not centered around alcohol.”

CAB’s most recent event, the Halloween-themed Cobweb Carnival, has traditionally been a dance held in the Reid Basement, called the Cobweb Ball.

“Unfortunately, we had scheduling conflicts with the Ball this year due to the high school debate tournament, and had to come up with some creative alternatives,” said Stoehr.

It’s not only unforeseen conflicts like this that have been hindering CAB this year; According to Stoehr, CAB’s core group is composed of mostly upperclassmen, and the organization hasn’t recruited many first-years.

“We have a really great group of seniors this year that make up about half of active CAB,” she said. “So we are a little worried about the future of CAB even this year, when senior theses and exams start taking up their time.”

“All of the events planned by CAB are student engineered. Fewer members means fewer minds off which to bounce ideas, as well as a smaller pool of man-power,” said Katie Phelps, one of this core group of seniors.

“It becomes difficult with less members to do big events, just because set-up and take-down take so much longer,” said Stoehr. “It’s also the creativity factor: we like to have new and exciting ideas to work on, and having more people: especially new people: definitely helps the dynamic.”

CAB is open to new members at any time, and anyone can attend their weekly meetings on Wednesdays at noon in Reid G02, or request to be added to the listserv.

Despite the troubles with attracting and retaining members, CAB remains optimistic about future events.

“This group of students is enthusiastic about providing fun, creative activities for Whitman students and has pursued that goal at full-speed this semester,” said Assistant Director of student activities and CAB advisor Leann White. “There are a number of activities left before winter break, and they have already begun planning events for the spring term.”

Stoehr also looks at the situation optimistically.

“We haven’t seen [the member shortage] affect the quality of our events yet, but I am trying to be aware of when our members are getting tired… I can’t ask them to just keep going without some rest,” she said. “We always strive for the highest quality of events, and I hope that never goes down.”

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