First established last year, the College’s Williams After Dark (WAD) program has remained a relatively popular Friday night option for students this semester. WAD has undergone a change in funding support but on the surface has remained true to its purpose of providing a consistent venue for weekly non-alcoholic social programming.
The WAD funding change was a result of the restructuring of the Neighborhood Governance Boards’ role in campus event planning. While WAD was funded by Wood, Spencer and Currier Neighborhoods and Campus Life last year, the program is funded entirely by Campus Life this year, according to Jerusa Contee ’11, Campus Life programming intern.
According to Contee, WAD’s budget this year is $14,000 compared to last year’s $12,000. The standard budget for each WAD event is around $500, Contee said, noting that this amount is enough for 27 WAD events throughout the year with some money left over to fund larger or more extensive programs. Contee said that average turnout for WAD events is about 40 students.
Students have expressed satisfaction both with organizing and attending the events, although Contee is responsbile for hosting events if no student or group comes forward.
Andrea Lindsay ’13 recently hosted a WAD event with other members of Williams Sustainable Growers (WSG) and said the planning process went smoothly. WSG’s activities included painting ceramic pots and potting herbs as well as making salsa and pesto.
“We were very happy with the turnout of the event and consider it a great success that didn’t require too much effort or organization,” Lindsay said “Planning basically just involved finding an appropriate space that we could reserve because we needed a good kitchen.”
Stevie Luther ’11 and other members of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) hosted “Hempfest” on Oct. 22. Luther said that SSDP used the $500 budget to purchase a bubble machine, 100 glow sticks, finger lasers, glow-in-the-dark fabric paint, hemp twine, assorted beads, hemp milk and ice cream, pizzas from Dominos and candy.
According to Luther, the gathering included “a diverse group – from members of the girls’ soccer team to tie-dye sporting hippies to kids who just really liked making hemp bracelets like they used to at summer camp.”
Contee believes that WAD has demonstrated to event planners and student groups “that there is a demand for alternative events on campus, and they can be fun and successful,” she said.
“WAD wasn’t just created for students who never drink, although I believe it is important to recognize the non-alcoholic scene on campus,” Contee said. “It is also important to remember that just because a student does drink, that doesn’t mean that they want to every weekend or every night of the weekend.”