‘Williams After Dark’ to plan alcohol-free events

College Council (CC), in conjunction with Campus Life and the neighborhoods, is initiating new non-alcoholic programming on campus. Starting next year, the program, called Williams After Dark, will provide Friday night entertainment to students who choose not to drink.

Rather than simply supporting events without alcohol, Williams After Dark hopes to create a Friday night substitute for the typical Williams party. “Williams After Dark is there as an alternative to the standard dark, crowded dance party,” said Joya Sonnenfeldt ’10, Spencer Neighborhood president and Class of 2010 CC representative.

The College attempted to start a round of non-alcoholic weekend events during Winter Study, but did not meet with a large degree of success, as few people attended the events. Sonnenfeldt suggested that publicity was an issue, and that people may not have been aware that the College sponsors non-alcoholic programming. “It’s hard to connect the people who don’t drink, because they don’t necessarily have anything else in common,” she said. “Since there hasn’t been institutional support for non-alcoholic programming in the past, people weren’t looking for the winter events.”

The Williams After Dark proposal leaves the types of events very open, in order to inspire creativity. Some examples cited, however, include Prospect Basement Putt-Putt, movie showings, collaborations with Dining Services to teach food preparation, laser tag and dance workshops.

Despite being open-ended, the events must meet certain standards to qualify for Williams After Dark funding. Events must not include alcohol, must occur Friday nights from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., take place on campus, be advertised to the entire campus (via postering, e-mails and monitors in Paresky), and accommodate from 25 to 75 people.

The hope is that the program will eventually become independent so that individuals or groups of students can plan events, but for the first year, CC wants to have the neighborhoods’ event planning expertise and financial backing. For the first semester, Wood, Currier and Spencer neighborhoods will each host three Friday evening events, and Campus Life will provide additional support. According to Sonnenfeldt and Lizzy Brickley ’10, CC co-president, Dodd chose not to participate because the governance board felt that the initiative was counterproductive to the goal of fostering neighborhood community.

CC has pledged to set aside $500 per week for the program, which will go through a one-semester trial period in the fall. During Winter Study, CC will review the program to decide whether it should continue, and if so, whether the amount of funding is appropriate. The neighborhoods will each provide $1000 for the semester, with Campus Life providing $1000 to take the place of Dodd.

In this model, rather than having one large entity like All-Campus Entertainment (ACE) hosting events, the responsibility will be spread across campus. “Hopefully, with the ease of having a single source of funding, students will be able to come in to the Office of Campus Life and propose and host their own events,” Sonnenfeldt said. Each event will have a maximum budget of $500, with the expectation that some events will use less than $500. “If groups request over the allotted $500, co-sponsorship approval will be required, but more expensive events are definitely doable,” Sonnenfeldt said.