Program Board will launch its first-ever forum for student input this year, which the group’s leader said will help them avoid missteps like choosing unpopular headliners in the future.
Last semester, the group announced that Jay Sean would headline Spring Fling, a letdown to many students who had enjoyed the high-profile Macklemore and Ryan Lewis concert the year before. This year’s Fall Fest headliner was released just three days before the band was set to play in University Yard, though the organization usually announces the artists weeks earlier.
Program Board Executive Chair Liz Moses said discontent comes with the territory of selecting one artist for about 10,000 undergraduates. Though many chairs in the past have brushed off that part of job, the business school senior said starting a focus group would help Program Board be more inclusive in the decision-making process.
The group will meet once a semester to give input on artist choices, best advertising strategies and constructive advice, she said. Moses added that she hopes the committee helps Program Board reflect the voice of the GW community.
The applications – which will be available from late September to early October – are open to all GW students. Moses said the board will look for students who are active on campus, and there is no limit for how many people will earn spots in the group.
“We’re going to weed out people who are talking just to have something to say,” she said.
Moses declined to say what delayed the Fall Fest headliner announcement this year, but attributed it to general “departmental delays.” In the past, the organization told students about a month before the show.
“We do not try to keep the information from the student body on purpose,” Moses said.
She said Program Board was also delayed because of drawn-out negotiations over the perfect price and a clear schedule for the headlining band.
Cold War Kids, while on Program Board’s short list, was not the first choice for the headliner group, she said. Every year, the Program Board sends out multiple requests to see which schedules and costs align with their top picks. This year, 20 requests went out to various artists.
“There are a lot of pieces that go into planning this concert. They all take time and when one piece isn’t happening in a timely fashion, then another piece can’t happen in a timely fashion,” she said.