Student involvement aims for community feel on campus

Photo from the Seton Hill Programming Board’s Facebook page.

Part of Seton Hill University’s mission statement is to “educate students to think and act critically, creatively and ethically as productive members of society committed to transforming the world.” With classes, exams and homework, it can be difficult to go out and get involved. The Seton Hill Programming Board offers new experiences and events every month to provide students with the chance to get out and try something new.

“What we’re striving to do this year is show folks a good time, like having active programming that’s worthwhile and checking it out,” said Elise Michaux, director of student involvement at SHU. “I just want us to have this constant culture of doing something rather than studying and eating. We—as the Programming Board and Student Engagement—want people to get involved and doing things on campus.”

“Now as we begin to get further into the fall, we’re going to be connecting with the different clubs and organizations on campus to get them doing stuff,” said Michaux. “That was what September was really all about—we put on some stuff, now you guys tell us what you want to see so that we can continue to have you really involved.”

There are currently 56 registered clubs on campus. When it comes to involvement, the SHPB is “influential.” The SHPB committee’s job is to use social media and OrgSync, the new student involvement platform introduced in August, to ask people what they want to see and promote their events.

“When I first give my spiel at Setonian Day, I say ‘I think I know what you guys want, but it’s better to hear it right from the horse’s mouth,’” said Michaux, who has been working together with Associate Dean of Student Engagement Jessica Mann for three years. “I had a girl stop in; I had never seen her before in my life. She said ‘I was on Facebook and I saw this guy who’s a live performer and I feel like he would be somebody cool to bring to campus.’ That’s what I want. I want bombarded with students’ ideas.”

The SHPB’s most recent success was Arrow Attack. 87 students and staff shot bows and arrows on Friday, Sept. 22. The annual fashion show, Lip Sync Battle and Mr. Seton Hill were also suggested by students.

The Seton Hill Programming Board holds a variety of events, like the giant tricycles. Photo by H.Carnahan/Setonian.

“Some of our best programs, some of our most successful events, have been student-driven,” said Michaux. “When you guys throw bangers, you get your people to come. That has been the key to our success while we’ve been here.”

“It’s funny to watch how that kind of transformed, but not everybody feels empowered yet that they can do stuff like this, where they have that voice,” said Michaux. “I’m okay with sometimes not everyone liking what we put on, but the more you tell me, the better off we are.”

Homecoming, Halloween and other events, such as Blitz Ball, mark the SHPB’s calendar for October. There are also some surprises being planned for Halloween.

“Shocktoberfest is going to look very different this year,” said Michaux. “We’re going to be celebrating Shocktoberfest the entire day of Halloween, but we’re still working out what it’s going to look like.”

Fright Night tickets are currently on sale. Buses are scheduled to take students to Kennywood Park on Oct. 28. Students will be able to ride the rides and experience the park’s Halloween line-up.

“The more we have events where everybody has to get together, just like Narrative 4, the more I interact with you, you’ll be more familiar to me. You’ll be more of a Setonian and fellow peer rather than a student athlete, an art student—you know, we have all these monikers, but at our core we should be that we’re Setonians,” said Michaux. “We chose this school because of our mission, the education we can get here. We all have our duties and roles, but we should still respect each other on this very human level. If we have events that get everybody outside of their comfort zone and interacting in different spaces and places, then we’ll begin to have that community feel that we want to have.”

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