Programming Council planning for Spring Weekend and dealing with fire restrictions

Though small, Wheaton’s Programming Council (PC) is one of the most important clubs on campus. The council plans major events for students and faculty, and takes on various responsibilities to bring entertainment to the Wheaton community. The club has already organized Mr. Wheaton as well as Bingo Night and looks forward to organizing even greater events.

Some upcoming events include the Fall Festival, held on Oct. 25 in the Dimple, and the Halloween Dance scheduled in Haas a day later. The festival will consist of exciting fall festivities including but not limited to hay barrel photo shoots, face painting, and bobbing for apples. The dance will be just as intriguing, as students are encouraged to wear ridiculous costumes and participate in a costume contest to compete for free Lyon’s bucks.

Programming Council has a huge budget by club standards, although much of it will be spent on a single (and Wheaton’s largest) event: Spring Weekend. To that end, PC is careful in its spending prior to that weekend. The council has already begun preparing for Spring Weekend, which is to be held on the weekend of April 25.

Members have been discussing different ideas for boat racing, orchestral groups, and a unique variety of local bands. As in every year, the Council will arrange for a well-known band to come to campus and perform live. The club has a headliner in mind, but intends to keep its name a secret.

While all campus events have gone smoothly this year, the club is already facing criticism from students regarding Wheaton dances. Three years ago, fire safety regulations in Massachusetts changed, and the maximum capacity for student dances decreased. As a result, it has become nearly impossible to hold dances in Balfour and smaller buildings on campus.

Students want their dances held in buildings other than Haas, which is seen as being almost “too big” for such an event, but with the new capacity rules in place, this is simply not a possibility.

Programming Council Chair Bailey McWilliams ’14 recalled a poorly organized dance held in Balfour shortly after the fire regulations were introduced: “It was complete chaos. Students were trying to come into the building while others were going out. When the dance reached max capacity, students were no longer allowed inside and many become confused or frustrated. Students became rowdy and a supervisor was forced to shut the event down.”

As the head of Programming Council, McWilliams embraces criticism and uses it to further the Council as a whole. She has created an online group called the “Programming Council Think Tank,” which will allow all members to contribute to group discussions. In addition, she intends to introduce a “Programming Council Suggestion Box” so all Wheaton students can voice their ideas to the club. She hopes these new leadership tactics will encourage even the shyest of students to have their opinions heard.