Boston University’s Student Activities Office officials decided to hold Splash a week later for the 2013-14 academic year to give student groups more time to plan, prepare and set up, officials said.
Splash is set to take place Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the Cummington Mall, near BU’s College of Communication, exactly one week after matriculation. In past years, Splash was hosted immediately following matriculation.
“One of the things we’ve found in the past is that Splash comes up very quickly,” said SAO Associate Director Raul Fernandez. “It’s difficult for some of our student groups to move into their residence halls and then be ready to represent their student organizations, so we’re giving them a little bit more time to think about what they want their setup to be and how they want to recruit members.”
On Saturday, a celebration called Scarlet Fever immediately followed matriculation on Nickerson field in place of Splash.
At least 5,000 students attended the event, where SAO officials, Scarlet Ambassadors and other members of the BU community greeted new and returning students with cheers, Fernandez said. The event also featured musical guest Karmin.
“It [Scarlet Fever] is certainly different from the way any other school in the area is opening up their year as well,” Fernandez said. “We were pretty excited with the results.”
Over the summer, SAO officials also decided to merge BU Central and BU’s Programming Council for the 2013-14 academic year to create the Student Activities Programming Team, Fernandez said. Merging the two is beneficial as the new group will have a larger budget as one entity, and will have the venue of BU Central in the George Sherman Union building to host gatherings.
Fernandez said one of the Student Activities Programming Team’s first functions, a comedy show starring Jay Pharaoh from Saturday Night Live, will take place Friday night in Metcalf Ballroom at 10 p.m. BU alumnus Myq Kaplan will open the show, which is free for BU students.
BU spokesman Colin Riley said the decision to move Splash and hold Scarlet Fever after matriculation aims to better engage new students.
“The university is always reviewing and improving its programs for new students from orientation to matriculation, and Splash is a big part of that,” he said. “… It [the decision to move Splash] is designed to improve the experience of new students on campus.”
Student Government President Dexter McCoy, in agreement with Riley, said the decision to move Splash was more an attempt to change how students are engaged and less to give student groups more time to prepare.
“Student groups have gotten it down,” McCoy, a College of Communication senior, said. “They know how to prepare in time for Splash and to have an adequate amount of people on campus. It’s more so a question of how we are building community after matriculation and how inviting we are of our freshman class.”
Swanson Ninan, co-director of the student-run Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism, said the change is postive.
“There’s so much else going on at that time,” Swanson, a College of Arts and Sciences junior, said. “It will be good to give the student organizations the time to organize themselves and make a plan of action, but also it will give the freshman more time to acclimate themselves to campus and get a better feel for what they do want to do.”
Deana Gordon, program manager for the BU Community Service Center Student Studio, also said the change in date for Splash will be helpful for new students and student organizations.
“It [Having Splash at a later date] will be more beneficial just to help [student groups] prepare more materials and get settled,” Gordon, a CAS senior, said. “… The first few days are always a whirlwind, and a lot of people are just tired and don’t have the patience to actually go to Splash and to be fully engaged in it.”