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College socials need more recognition and respect

By Theresa Masciale     3/13/12 7:00pm

This year, Rice has seen some fantastic public parties thrown by incredible socials at different colleges. Sid Richardson College took students back in time for a retro '80s party, while Duncan turned up the volume with its neon white-out. Numerous students flock to public parties to either steal the pizza at 10 p.m. or dance the night away with their partner of choice. Either way, public parties are an essential part of Rice student life, and it's all a result of the efforts of the college socials.

As a former social for Hanszen College, I experienced the major stresses that come with the job. A month before the party, my team was constantly running around making sure every detail was accounted for so that when the big day of the party came, everything would be perfect. The job, although rigorous, was a wonderful experience. Although socials get congratulated for a job well done at the end of the party, they are unnoticed when there is not a social event happening.

Each college has a committee or team of socials to plan its public events such as public parties or tailgates. Each college is different, but at Hanszen, the team of three socials has the largest budget of all the committees affiliated with the college. This year, the Hanszen socials received about $8,000 for their budget to throw two public parties and hold tailgates, pub nights and holiday parties for the college. For socials as diligent as we were, the workload is about 40 hours a week prior to the event, which is way more work than any cabinet member, save the president and the treasurer, does for the college.

Socials need to be upgraded from a small committee position to an officer position not just at Hanszen, but at all colleges campus wide. The workload is much larger than that of any officer position, and the socials have the largest budget. In addition, the socials are responsible for bringing together the entire college, not just a single class like the class representatives. Not to target class representatives, but their only job is to provide food for certain cabinet days and to potentially put together a small bonding event for the class. Although their role is small, they receive a partial vote in decisions proposed at Hanszen's cabinet.

The socials' role is much larger, with responsibilities such as dealing with Rice University Police Department, Emergency Medical Services, and Housing and Dining. We were also often asked to go beyond our duties and hold events such as the opening of the basement at Hanszen. If there is a group of people who know the ins-and-outs of their college, it is the socials. We include everyone and must accommodate different preferences in every single social event we hold. At the very least, the socials should receive a vote that is split among the three of them.

Some colleges have noticed the unfairness surrounding the social position. Baker, for instance, is in the midst of transitioning its social committee into an official officer position. The job called for many sleepless nights and delays in homework, but the enjoyment from guests at the public events is worth it. However, the socials need more respect and recognition for all the hard work they do.

Theresa Masciale is a Hanszen College sophomore and Thresher opinions editor.

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