Last Friday’s Laker Kickoff Party started the semester with a laid-back celebration of returning campus life, entertaining students who wandered by the Cook Carillon Tower with music, food and a variety of games and activities.
“It’s targeted where it is within the transitions schedule for a reason,” said Campus Activities Board President Jess Fillmore. “We designed it so incoming freshmen can just relax and meet some people outside of the pressure and business of transitions. It’s something to do with new friends — if you’re not super close to your roommates, grabbing some pizza and listening to music is a casual way to get to know each other better.”
The Campus Activities Board, who organized the event, is a more recent addition to the Office of Student Life. This time last year, they were two separate organizations — the former Laker Traditions Team and Spotlight Productions. The Laker Kickoff Party signified the start of the fall semester, but also their fully combined debut for the upcoming year.
“We effectively had the same purpose,” Fillmore said. “We operated different types of events, but we were both campus organizations serving the same purpose, so we were always working together and trying to coordinate with each other. It just made sense to join together and pool our resources.”
Last semester, the two groups merged together as a “dry run” for future partnership. Now, they’re officially starting the year as the combined Campus Activities Board. The original purposes of both teams are preserved within the CAB’s structure.
“Now we have Traditional Programs, which covers our big ticket events like Homecoming, the President’s Ball and our Spring Concert — events that are more long running in planning,” Fillmore said. “Spotlight Productions, and now Special Programs, is focused on more day-to-day events, like comedy nights, live music and the Laker Kickoff Party.”
Alongside Public Relations, which covers social media, graphic design and creative marketing for their events, the two sub-groups also plan campus cinema and multicultural events. The group as a whole is always looking for more activities to bring to campus.
“It’s one of our goals to start reaching out more to other campus organizations,” Fillmore said. “We already work with several, like the Office of Multicultural Affairs or Student Senate, but we also want to work with groups that are more niche and could use our resources for putting on events and promotion.”
The Campus Activities Board isn’t just looking for future collaborations, but for new students to join in on organizing events for their peers. Those interested in learning more about the group can join them for CAB Bingo Sept. 9, their game-based spin on an informational meeting with prizes for those who attend.
“Everyone’s welcome, across all majors,” Fillmore said. “I think there’s an idea that you have to be in business or hospitality to help organize campus events, but we have people from education, people from the sciences. It’s just a really good way to get involved on campus, no matter where you’re coming from.”