UProgram board walks out in wake of All Night Party

Michael Rosenbaum, News Editor

In the early morning of February 20, 2022, after the conclusion of UProgram’s All Night Party, all of the board members of UProgram hosting the event left the building in protest. This was in response to alleged frustrations between members of the UProgram board and the office of Student Activities over a number of topics including the attendance of events and dissatisfaction with Student Activities’ role in events. 

UProgram is a a student-led club that organizes many events at Union. This includes larger events like All Night Party in February, or the Sunset Fest during the 2021 fall term. UProgram also hosts numerous smaller events during the year, including fall term’s Arcade Night and Glowcade. UProgram is featured prominently on Union College’s website, where it is described as “responsible for the majority of programs on campus.” Despite such a wide responsibility, the board of UProgram is relatively small, comprised of less than 10 members. It should be noted that one of the members who walked out that night was Avanti Khare ’23, the current Sci-Tech editor of the Concordiensis. 

The office of Student Activities is a part of the college’s administration, and is staffed by Assistant Dean of Students, Matt Milless; Director of Student Activities, Lauren Dougherty; and Assistant Director of Student Activities, Katie Davin. In addition, Student Activities also hosts work study students who help around the office. Student Activities is the organizing body for all of Union’s clubs and for Student Forum. 

At the end of All Night Party, two members of the UProgram board, Mallory Nelson ’22 and Adrianna Ryan ’22, talked with the administrative staff of Student Activities to air their grievances. After a disagreement between the groups, the attending UProgram board left Reamer Campus Center altogether. 

The walkout of members of the UProgram board was the result of built-up dissatisfaction among the board members. The complaints of some of these board members included were that they were overworked in setting up events, that they were not allowed to participate in events they had set up–including the All Night Party–and that there was a lack of support for UProgram. UProgram, like many other student-run clubs, had seen a seen a decrease in event attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the number of members in the UProgram board had not declined as a result of the pandemic, its growth had been halted. The week before All Night Party, UProgram had hosted Mission Improvable, an event which had “no attendees other than the board” according to Ryan. These issues impacted the morale of the UProgram board and directly contributed to the walkout. In a statement to the Concordiensis, Nelson wrote, “this year especially has felt like we can’t win or do a good enough job in their eyes”

Davin and Dougherty explained to the Concordiensis that Student Activities’ role is purely consultative during the planning of UProgram events. In addition, they explained that they should be have been consulted by members of UProgram to work out any issues, claiming that the administrative members of Student Activities did not realize the extent of the board’s frustrations. According to Dougherty, “through All Night Party, there was no indication that anyone was upset.”

Since the walkout, Student Activities has begun working to reconstitute UProgram. While all of the members of the UProgram board participated in the walkout, the club is not dormant. Dougherty, when asked about the status of the club, said that “UProgram is currently viable, but rebuilding.” Since the walkout, a number of the members of the board have returned to working with UProgram.  Others, including Nelson and Ryan, have elected to stay separate. 

While Student Activities attempts to recreate the board, it is unclear whether UProgram will be able to make larger events with the staff they have, or whether this break will impact future endeavors by the club.