By Augie Lawson
Throughout the past decade here at Lawrence, the Student Organization for University Programming, affectionately known as SOUP, has been the leading student group for providing entertainment on campus.
In my two years as a member of the organization, SOUP has brought in a variety of acts, including singers, poets and comedians, and held events such as grocery bag bingo. I joined SOUP at the beginning of my freshmen year in the hopes of helping to bring exciting entertainment events to campus.
Yet throughout my time as a member, I became increasingly disappointed by our inability to garner interest for our events from within the Lawrence community. Our goal of being recognized as a group that hosted engaging campus events quickly faded. Instead, we became known as the group that brought in lame comedians to perform while you waited in line for cheese curds at the cafe. Not exactly what I was hoping for.
As a chair-holding member of SOUP, I struggled with what our role on campus was. We brought in entertainment, but also helped fund other student groups through our Collaborations budget. This process seemed redundant to me; we were serving many purposes without doing any of them very well and struggling with membership. This past Fall Term, I decided to leave the group, and, after some considerable thought, I believe I finally have a solution.
In order to provide entertainment and events to campus while also supporting the diverse number of student groups on campus, SOUP should be reorganized as a separate branch of LUCC. In doing so, there would finally be a recognized group on campus that would administer all of the student groups that want to bring entertainment and host events on campus.
There are many benefits to having a separate branch of LUCC dedicated exclusively to campus entertainment and events. Like LUCC, this branch would be composed of multiple committees with different focuses and would be open to all students. By having an open committee structure with a few elected chair positions, we could increase student involvement in the current events held on campus, as well as expand the number of students who would have input in what entertainment we bring to campus.
This branch would also work with student organizations to coordinate events with each other, and would act as a facilitator in order to help provide support for events. This would benefit smaller niche events that may struggle with attendance and publicity as well as larger, all-campus events, such as LU-Aroo, that have large logistical hurdles, such as gathering volunteers, contacting bands and collaborating with other student groups and organizations on campus. A separate branch like I’ve described would become a useful resource for student events and help them to be more successful in achieving their goals.
Lastly, a new branch of LUCC would work together with the Finance committee to oversee requests from student groups for entertainment, assuring that LUCC money is used effectively and responsibly with students’ interests in mind. In doing so, we could avoid wasteful spending of LUCC funds and provide student groups with additional funding, rather than having to appeal to other organizations for help.
Our student body is diverse in its interests, which can be—while wonderful for students on a weekend looking for fun—a nightmare in trying to find just the right entertainment to appeal our campus’ eclectic, hilarious and often competing tastes. As a result, we have numerous student groups on campus that often share the same goals, but rarely coordinate with one another.
Creating a separate branch of LUCC would solve these problems while increasing student involvement in deciding the kinds of entertainment that Lawrentians want on campus. By creating this new branch focused on entertainments and events, we would be tapping into all of the potential of SOUP and the rest of our student organizations, while offering them the financial and institutional support they need to host quality entertainment and events on campus.