By: Irene Rotondo '22
Springfield College’s Campus Activities Board, more commonly known as CAB, works tirelessly year-round to ensure students’ lives are enriched with entertaining events and programs.
Their dedication to the Humanics philosophy and Spirit, Mind, and Body was recognized at the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) Northeast Regional Conference as recipients of the 2021 Excellence in Programming Award in late October.
Schools from all over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions annually submit their top programs to the NACA Northeast Conference that their CAB organizations have put on from Nov. of the previous academic year to the Sept. of the current conference year. They must first submit a written application including information like the club’s mission, structure, budget, how they operate, and more.
Springfield College’s CAB submitted a write-up of four programs they deemed to be most reflective of the overall atmosphere of what they do at the College. They included the missions, challenges and successes, goals, budget breakdown, and the attendance of each event.
“This year, we highlighted the SCDM celebration that was held in May, the ‘Let’s Get Thrifty’ student shop pop-up event that was held last semester, the ‘Skating Through the Chocolate Factory’ that happened over last year’s Welcome Back Week, and the ‘We’re Not Really Strangers,’ which is based on a card game to create human connection to folks that you don’t know too well,” said Brianna Kirk, CAB advisor and assistant director of student activities and campus union.
If selected, schools will then move onto the next round of NACA judging with a 15 minute presentation to a secret judge panel at the Northeast Conference. Springfield’s CAB was able to attend and present in-person this year, a step up from last year’s virtual conference.
“Our theme of this year’s presentation was ‘travelling’ through our different events of the semester. It was a way for us to show what we brought to our campus and what worked to inspire other schools, and to help market our school as well,” said CAB e-board member Sarah McNicholas.
“At the end of it, [the audience] asked us questions about it and the different events… it was definitely intimidating to be back in front of a whole crowd, but everybody was so happy and wanted to be there that it made us more comfortable to talk about things we’re passionate about,” McNicholas added.
The conference, which had about 300-400 students in attendance this year, also consists of various vendors selling their products, performances, and services to CAB organizations from all schools attending.
This year featured poets, magicians, singers, photo booth owners, and more merchants with “knick-knacks” to try to get the attention of any college CAB.
Springfield’s CAB club has won the Excellence in Programming Award consecutively since 2017, except in 2019 when the club made it to the presentation phase but ultimately did not win.
Director of Student Activities, Annie Warchol, is amazed by the group’s continual talent and commitment to their mission.
“When I first started at Springfield College, I would go to the awards ceremony… and always the same schools would win. The reaction at the tables: ‘No, not again,’ and now we’re one of those schools. It brightens my heart to say, ‘Look how far we’ve come,’ in our time since my first conference at this school in 2009 as assistant director,” said Warchol.
Now, Springfield’s CAB is thinking even more innovative about what kind of events they should plan after seeing the impressions their programming made on other schools. Warchol says she has personally seen other colleges and universities like Quinnipiac, Eastern Connecticut State, and UConn implement activities from Springfield through individuals who have worked with Springfield’s CAB before and gone on to work for those institutions.
Amber Miracle, another Springfield CAB e-board member and presenter at the conference, was excited to attend the conference for her first time this year, and is happy to be a part of something so special.
“Even being just a part of programming was really rewarding to me,” stated Miracle.
“It shows how much work we’ve put in as a whole CAB, and just being recognized for the awesome events we put on campus, everything we try to do to get the students engaged, just being recognized for that was really awesome especially as my first year on the presentation.”