Student Life Programs and Event Services finish first year as combined group
by Zach Krauss
Last November, the office of Student Life Programs and Event Services officially joined forces under the office of Campus Experience.
Event Services works to create on-campus events for off-campus guests, many of which were oriented to grade-school students. Student Life Programs includes groups such as SCAB, the information desk, and Rinnova, which together comprise a large group of hired students each year.
Prior to the shift to Campus Experience, Event Services was technically a branch underneath the Marketing office, as well as the Enrollment Services office. Before that, Events Services was underneath Admissions. Student Life Programs, or SLP, was always located underneath the branch of Student Life and Christian Ministry, which also houses offices such as Resident Life, Office of Student Development, etc.
At the time, the Marketing and Enrollment Management offices were one entity, with Event Services functioning to help manage the events put on by the joint office. In late 2016, however, Marketing became its own office, while Enrollment Management became another. Janice Supplee became the vice president of Marketing, and Scott Van Loo became the vice president of Enrollment Management. Jim Amstutz, who was in charge of both Event Services and Graduate Admissions, went to serve solely as the director of Graduate Admissions, and Event Services was placed under the direction of Brian Burns.
Campus Experience as an office took the student aspect of SLP and the guest and faculty and staff aspect of Event Services and meshed them together. Campus Experience’s mission statement is “to support the mission and vision of Cedarville University by providing an exceptional and holistic customer experience for the students, faculty, staff, and guests of Cedarville University”
Burns, who was originally the director of SLP, said that the change came out of opportunity, rather than necessity. He always wants people to know that SLP and Event Services were never broken individually.
“Event Services was doing super well on its own, and I like to think Student Life Programs was, too. It just made sense to put the two offices together in order to make things even better,” Burns said.
Before the connecting of the offices, Event Services worked a lot with events that were student-interest based. Events like CedarMania and Junior Jam all function as events that clearly show grade-school students the truth of the Gospel while also functioning as effective recruiting ministries for the university.
Burns mentioned it made sense that Event Services would have originally resided underneath Admissions and then Enrollment Services because both of those offices rely on student recruitment and interaction. However, he said, it also made sense to involve Student Life Programs as well.
Student Life Programs helps organize many of the student events on campus, including Alt Nights, CULead, Elliv, Campus Christmas and any other events that directly involve students. While events like Music Showcase and Junior Jam are catered to the guests that arrive and register for them, students on campus are almost always involved. Because of the large number of guests and small number of staff on Event Services, the program needs college student volunteers in order to make its events happen.
Burns said he sees this connection as one that not only makes Campus Experience a sensible name for the merged entity, but also makes the reason for the combination clear. He explained that students are so involved with events on campus that it makes sense for them to be in the same department.
“Everything SLP and Event Services does is something that is a campus experience for students,” Burns said. “Junior Jam is a campus experience just like Campus Christmas is, and now we can work together to make things flow better.”
Chrissy Faulkner, an event manager, said one of the greatest improvements of the transition has been the use of materials between the two sub-offices. Where SLP has many resources that it’s gained over the years through working with students, Event Services also has many resources that it’s acquired through putting on events for children and youths. Faulkner also pointed out that scheduling events has become much easier now, since the two offices of Campus Experience put on a majority of the scheduled events on campus, and they can now collaborate and make times work together strategically.
Physically, the SLP office suite was renovated in a way so that staff from Event Services could be in the same place as the rest of SLP. Now that the changes are complete, there is room for each of the event managers, which allows for closer communication between the new team. The office is located in the lower Stevens Student Center, SSC 154, and is connected to the Student Government Office.
Loren Kuhn, who serves as an event manager as well, has been helping Cedarville put on events for six years. He focuses on CedarMania, Worship 424 and others.
“The combination has been a great team growth opportunity,” Kuhn said. “Now that we’re working together, there’s resources on both ends that we’d never have access to otherwise.”
Each event manager focuses on specific events, but in order to effectively host 300 events, Cedarville staff have to work together. Kuhn says the transition has become a great opportunity for ministry with the rest of the Campus Experience team.
“I think a lot of us in Event Services are very student and discipleship focused, so it’s an awesome opportunity to work with over a hundred students each week,” Kuhn said.
The staff made it clear that the transition has been a learning experience, which as expected, takes time. Faulkner said being able to be more involved with students and student life has given her the best of both worlds.
“I think we’re a weird entity on campus now, but I think we’re doing great things together,” Faulkner said. “Not everything we do is for students, but everything we do can be done alongside students. We want the experiences we offer guests to be an experience for the campus here, and hearing directly from students we work with now makes that easier.”
Zach Krauss is a junior pharmacy/music double major from central Texas and campus reporter for Cedars. He loves music, theatre, biology, community, and meeting new people.