Funding for New Student-Run Events Replaces Phling
Insufficient student involvement in Phling’s planning led to the end of a 16-year tradition.
Published: Thursday, October 27, 2011
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 01:11
One of Kenyon's most popular events may have seen its final days. Philander's Phebruary Phling, at least as students have come to know and love it, is no more, according to Associate Dean of Students Tacci Smith.
Since Phling's inception in 1996, its goal has been to provide a student-run escape from the winter weather. In recent years, however, student volunteers have dwindled, leaving the Division of Student Affairs and the Student Activities Office to run it. The alum who donated the fund allocating $10,000 to Phling each year stipulated that the event be student-run, but student volunteers for this year remain nonexistent. "The student body wants it to happen, but doesn't want to put in the time for it," Smith said. "It's sad because I think lots of people would enjoy Phling."
As a solution to this problem, the College has decided to stop coordinating Phling and instead leave the $10,000 open to any student organizations with ideas for non-alcoholic, campus-wide events in February. A student organization could potentially plan a Phling-like event, or a new tradition could arise. Applications for these new "Phebruary Phunds" will be due by Friday, Nov. 18.
The History of Phling
Smith and Director of Student Activities and Greek Life Christina Mastrangelo announced the College's decision at the Student Council meeting on Sunday, Oct. 23, but it has been a long time coming.
When Phling began, there were Friday and Saturday components, according to Smith. Friday's events were more casual and planned by the Community Advisors (CAs), while Saturday was a "mini prom or homecoming" for which a committee of about 15 students would spend weeks on decorations, she said. Phling typically cost about $15,000: $10,000 from the alum donation and $5,000 from the Business and Finance Committee (BFC).
During Peirce Hall's renovation, Phling spent two years in the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC). The second year, the usual 15-person committee decreased to four sophomores, all of whom chose not to return the following year. "They felt like, ‘We did it, so now we want to enjoy it,'" Smith said.
Problems with Phling came not only from the disappearing committee but also from the lack of volunteers for the day of the event. "Everyone wants to hang out with their friends, get dressed up and just have a good time and not deal with all the not-fun stuff like the people throwing up in the bathroom," Mastrangelo said.
Students Affairs employees and Social Board began helping to staff the event, but Social Board did not want to continue volunteering because Phling is one of the few campus events that the group does not run. For the next two years, the Student Affairs volunteers outnumbered the student volunteers, according to Smith. "This is really a student event, and we're there to help, but I need to float around," she said. "We said, ‘If we don't get student help, we can't continue this.'"
Student Affairs continued to run Phling for one more year until Student Council agreed to run it two years ago. "Last year, Phling was brought up again to Student Council and the members of the … 2009-2010 council did not believe it was the role of Student Council to plan this event," Student Council President Ryan Motevalli-Oliner '12 said in an email. "The purpose of Student Council is not to plan all-campus events. It would be like asking Campus Senate to plan Sendoff."
"When we had a Phling committee, we had weekly meetings, but people never consistently showed up," Mastrangelo said. "I was lucky if I had one student come. Last year there were meetings where I was there by myself."
Last year, the Horn Gallery, Social Board and Student Council all helped Student Affairs with Phling, but on the night of the event, no student volunteers showed up to work their shifts, according to Smith. "When push came to shove, we were scrambling because we hadn't gotten a full coverage of Student Affairs folks," she said. "We'd anticipated those six or seven students at least to be in there as well and none of them showed up."