Friday, March 27, 2009

Campus Activities Council is Ready for a Change

Kirsten Brinlee and Clara Mitcham discussing homecoming ideas. (Photo by Colbi Beam)

Courtney Nelson speaking about Campus Activities Council

Some students believe that Campus Activities Council is biased in preference of students in Greek houses and that those who aren't Greek don't have the same opportunities to get involved.

Campus Activities Council is a branch off of UOSA designed to create and organize the large scale events at OU. According to the CAC website, the events hosted by CAC include major activities like Homecoming, University Sing, Dance Marathon, and Howdy Week. The council also brings year-round attractions, including: films, concerts, and speakers.

Each of these events has their own committee, offering several students to get involved in the process of creating each attraction. However, some students think that the basis for choosing these leaders to get involved is biased in their Greek affiliation.

"I think that the system is run by Greeks," Courtney Nelson, un-affiliated student said. "Because of that when it comes time to choose, they choose people they know. People from other Greek houses. It makes it really hard for everyone else that wants to get involved."

Some Campus Activities Council leaders disagree that the bias exists in selecting leaders.

"I received over a hundred applications for people that wanted to be on Homecoming exec, and there were less than ten applicants that weren't Greek," Clara Mitcham, Homecoming Chair, said. "I can't pick people who don't apply. I would actually be more apt to put someone on my exec that's not Greek just because they want to get other non-Greek people involved."

CAC Executive Committee member, Chrissie Johnson, said that she thought that each candidate is evaluated fairly but occasionally prior knowledge may be brought up.

However, not all Campus Activities Council members disagree completely with the complaint.

"I do think that there can be a sense of nepotism," Kirsten Brinlee, CAC Public Relations officer, said. "Event chairs are human, but I don't think on a broad level that Greek individuals have any more clout than non-Greek individuals."

There are most definitely parallels in the kind of people that are involved with CAC and Greek life. People that join fraternities and sororities want to be involved, they are outgoing and want to be around other people and those are the same kinds of people that want to apply for CAC, Brinlee said.

"CAC is looking for people who want to be leaders, that want to be plugged-into campus and those people usually want to be in the Greek system for the same reasons," Mitcham said.

Campus Activities Council has six members on its executive council and presently all six are currently or have been in a Greek house during their college career. However, the general council for CAC is more diverse; five of the seventeen non-executive general council members are unaffiliated and are among the highest positions CAC has to offer.

"There is a good spread of Greek people and non-Greek people," Johnson said.

While some feel that the mix is just right, others think there is room for improvement.

"The executive council right now is the remainders of what CAC used to be, back when it was primarily Greek," said Brinlee. "We are in the process of change, but that takes time for everyone."

Event chairs are working to make the events more accessible to other groups on campus and trying to redefine what their events are.

"I think that the chairs are becoming experts at their events," said Brinlee. "They are trying to see what people want and make them better. University Sing and Homecoming this year opened up a 'town meeting' so people could vent their feelings about the event and discuss the changes they hope to see. The chairs want to include more than the Greek system in this."

Although CAC chairs are trying to change the way the system works, there are other factors to consider. The Greek system is very important to campus as a whole, according to the Panhellenic website, 25% of all the undergraduate women on campus are in a Panhellenic sorority. That is only one of the several Greek organizations.

"I know I want to make homecoming accessible to everyone, I want to make it affordable and encourage everyone to get involved," Mitcham said. "However, Greek organizations are the ones that want to participate. Yes, making a huge float is expensive for smaller organizations, but at the same time it is a part of the tradition."

While no one can argue that Greek students are the majority of CAC leaders, some think that this will change very soon.

"CAC is undertaking an organizational culture change," Brinlee said. "It has changed a lot, it has become less Greek since the time I was a freshman. As for the current leadership, we are a result of how CAC was, and in the next couple of years we will see a change of a better educated better and a qualified council. That is exciting!"

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