By Thomas Dachik and Ryan Fabacher
Purchase College’s online events calendar is responsible for informing students about all upcoming events in an accurate and timely manner. However, some students feel there are deficiencies with both the events and how details about such are disseminated.
The Purchase College Events Calendar shows upcoming student events hosted by both Resident Assistants and Professors (Image via the online Purchase Events Calendar).
Journalism students are consistent users of the events calendar to cover events for class assignments. Freshman journalism major Kaylena Phagnasay, however, now has trouble trusting the information posted on the calendar following one specific instance. Phagnasay planned to attend a Latin Jazz Coffee Social she saw listed on the calendar earlier this semester but was surprised to find no event when she arrived at the location.
“It made me disappointed that the communication was off,” Phagnasay said. “It makes me lose trust in the way the school communicates. I am reluctant, and I do not like feeling reluctant.”
Phagnasay is from California and was excited to meet new people when covering events like this one, though she was confused when this happened.
“I was itching to go and meet people,” Phagnasay said. “I show up by myself, and the person that is running it is not there and nobody is showing up.”
Freshman journalism major Brandon Gonzalez Cruz dealt with a similar issue. Recently, he attended a Mindfulness Speedrun Event in the Alumni Village. Although the instructor was there, no other students showed up. Cruz is a commuter and feels he is not too immersed in the campus environment and is directly affected academically when nobody attends.
“Since I am not on campus, I rely on these events to help me with stories,” Cruz said. “But if nobody attends, it is hard to write one. Putting together a campus story is hard because I am still unaware of the campus culture.”
Some issues with the calendar, however, are out of anybody’s control according to Associate Director of Residential Life Matthew Landau, who is one of the operators of the Purchase Events Calendar. Landau claims there can be numerous reasons for information not being conveyed correctly, including Residential Assistant (RA) Event cancellations and date changes being improperly updated by RAs themselves, which Landau confirms happens commonly.
“There certainly can be improvements from my end (Residential Life) that RAs need to be updating their programs if there are any changes,” Landau said. “They usually forget to update it in Pantherlink.”
Landau added that despite these inconveniences, it is the responsibility of RAs to update information on the calendar regarding their own events.
Junior music production major William Buono and senior music production major TJ McMaster, are also members of the Purchase-affiliated band APLO and are responsible for the advertising of their own shows. Buono is also an RA and McMaster is a former RA. Buono and McMaster both feel that the biggest issues regarding RA events are advertising and the number of RA events required by the school. All Purchase RAs are required to hold two events each semester; one social event and one educational event. Buono feels that the high frequency of RA Events reduces the value of each one.
TJ McMaster, left, and William Buono, right, pictured on the cover art of their single “Let Me Stay” by their band “APLO” (Photo via TJ McMaster Instagram @tj.mcmaster).
“It almost feels pointless to do them,” Buono said. “There’s such an oversaturation with it.”
Buono has what he believes is a simple solution to address the low attendance rates at RA Events: have fewer events. He feels that more frequent events make effective advertising more difficult for him.
McMaster agrees with this but specifies that the workload is heavy for RAs, as they must meet a certain quota for events. He feels this could be a reason for the lack of advertising.
“The quota is too high, “McMaster said. “With how RA’s are usually overworked and underpaid, the events they have will probably be less engaging, and thrown together at the last minute.”
Both McMaster and Buono believe the quota is still too high, despite the school lowering the required number of events per RA from three down to two. McMaster proposes the idea of quality over quantity, elaborating that he himself promotes and holds his own social events, such as the SUNY Stock Music Festival, which he feels was worth greater effort.
The Purchase College Student Center promotes this year’s SUNY Stock Music and Art Festival, capped off by Buono and McMaster’s band “APLO,” a few days prior to the show (image via Purchase College Student Center Instagram @the.stood).
“Even though I am not an RA [anymore], I am a musician,” McMaster said. “I promote other events on campus. We focused all our attention on that one show with marketing. Over 100 people showed up. That is the way to go. That is how you get people having fun.”