I want to voice my concern with last week’s Record editorial “College should do better job of scheduling events,” and address the irresponsible portrayal of this issue.
First, there exist several mechanisms, both formal and informal, that do exactly the things the editorial called for. At an informal level, many of the people that are organizing these events try to coordinate with each other to make sure they are not infringing on each other’s activities. Although this does sometimes does occur, there is dialogue between the various groups planning these events because of a mutual interest in having successful programming.
There are also formal mechanisms for coordination. If you have ever visited the Williams College homepage, there is a link on the front page to “News and Events,” where you will find daily, weekly, monthly and yearly all-campus calendars. You will also find a link to the schedule of events for the Minco groups (MCC) and events taking place in Goodrich all year. In addition, to schedule events such as lectures, presentations or performances, all event planners have to go through the same channels for reserving rooms, equipment and support from the various college offices. Coordination is important.
So, it is obvious that the necessary resources for coordination do indeed exist. If the editorial board insists that the problem lies with the event planners, then let me point out that anyone that has planned an event for the entire campus will tell you about the difficulties in doing this.
First, the event planner does not always have complete control over the month, week, day, or even time that a specific event can occur. Even with advanced planning (the Lecture Committee lectures were organized a year ago) many of the famous and more popular speakers and performers are booked for the next year or two and so it is important to accommodate their needs. So, although we have some control, we do not have complete control, which will often times lead to various conflicts that was outlined in the Record’s critique.
Second, considering that most of the events that were pointed out are a part of a series it was important to have them scheduled in proximal times. For example, the many lecturers that were brought to campus the first week after spring break were scheduled one right after the other in order to literally immerse the campus with the issues that were raised by each event. The week was packed on purpose.
The issue being addressed here may not be a big deal to many of you, but when students criticize, unjustly, the hard work that is put into organizing events for our benefit, it isn’t fair to those doing the organizing. (Especially to those trying their best to coordinate and keep track of room reservations and the support necessary for the many events on campus such as Mrs. Barbara Agostini and Mrs. Gail Rondeau). There is always room for improvement, but any critique on issues like this should be done thoroughly and thoughtfully.