Staff Photo by Jerreck McWilliams
Everyone sees mud in Springfest, but what few people get to see is what lies underneath that mud: more mud.
That mud beneath the mud is, of course, a metaphor for all the dirty work that goes into planning, organizing and executing Springfest, the largest student managed event at Southeastern.
This spring was my second in a row co-chairing the Springfest committee for SGA. It has been an experience that has taught me 10 times more than any of my classes here at the university, simply because it confronts you with situations that you just cannot recreate in a classroom.
Rather than go into detail explaining why this is, here is the basic scenario:
• The spring semester has just started.
• You and one of your fellow student senators have just been named co-chairs of the Springfest committee.
• Your responsibilities are to come up with a list of events that will take place during one week of school and all the logistics that go with that.
• Additionally, you must create a design for the Springfest T-shirts and decide what extra giveaways you are going to hand out to participants.
• Information packets must be designed and distributed with legal liability waivers or you will not have any students participating.
• You have a $5,000 budget, a staff that can range from one to 25 (usually around 12) depending on how many senators have been elected and about three months to do all of this (this is being generous).
In that time, most of your work involves coordination among university staff, Student Senate and the different companies from which you purchase materials.
Locations need to be reserved on campus for events, work schedules need to be made for the senators, events need to be scheduled at times when students are most likely to be out of class and off work, packets need to be distributed early enough for students to be able to get a team together, money cannot be spent without a bill being passed by Senate, contacts need to be contacted, sandwiches need to be made, etc.
It all comes down to a lot of little headaches, really. Good timing, self-discipline, foresight and people skills are a must. Luck helps, too.
Despite the effort involved, working on Springfest is a lot of fun. Coming up with ideas for games can be really exciting, and I promise that you will never forget the first time you inflate a 10-foot beach ball.
Honestly, this is not the hardest job in the world, but it becomes difficult when you are doing all of this on top of coursework, a part-time job, regular SGA duties and any other life-related activities.
Be expected to spend eight to 10 hours a week as a Springfest chair and two to four hours for committee members.
Because of this, the first thing a Springfest chair learns to rely on is fellow senators. Goals are not going to be accomplished without them.
Fortunately, this year’s Senate was amazing, and my fellow co-chair Heather Hartline and I would not have been able to do half as much as we did without them.
Also, Hartline chaired Springfest while rehearsing for and performing in “Suessical the Musical.” That takes a very special kind of talent and discipline, so if you participated in Springfest this year you really should take a moment to thank her if you see her around campus.
Some other personal notes:
• Expect and be prepared to fail at some point on something… like mud jousting. It is going to happen.
• No one can stay on top of everything that happens without help. Confide in your friends and teammates, and your trust will be rewarded.
• That $5,000 budget can disappear if you are not careful. By the way, all of that money, along with the rest of Senate’s budget, comes from the student activity fees you pay Southeastern. So, if you are not taking an interest in SGA perhaps you should start.
• Thank you to all the students who participated this year and your excellent sportsmanship. You are why we do this. Regardless of everything else, at the end of the day, knowing students are happy is worth any amount of work and stress we put ourselves through.
• A very special thank you to Faith Huddleson, Eddie Harbin and the Physical Plant, Grounds Keeping Staff, Dean of Students Camille Phelps, Campus Police, Luke Willman, Mrs. Pam from the Magnolia Grill for feeding me, President Larry Minks and his staff, Vice President of Student Affairs Sharon Robinson and of course Jannista Wood, all of whom continually contribute to the smooth operation of Springfest, Student Senate and the campus as a whole.
• Double special thanks to Tim Sneed and the Tim Sneed Committee, advocate of Sneed-like activities and all things Tim Sneed.
• Triple special thanks to Rance Cockrell, God of Rock‘n’Roll. Rance be praised!