By Warren Glynn '15
Themed dances, talent shows and outdoor movie nights are among the events coming to Franklin & Marshall College as part of a student-led effort to offer alternative social activities on weekends.
Led by first-year student Layla Thomas, F&M Options: The Other Night Life, aims to expand the number of alcohol-free social opportunities for students.
"Options is a group of like-minded students who want to work to make Franklin & Marshall's Friday and Saturday nights more diverse,” Thomas said. "It's a chance to mix things up in a different social scene."
The group is working with College leaders to create new activities and to open previously exclusive events, such as College House-hosted and other student group activities, to all students. In order to be sponsored by Options, an event must run from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. and be substance-free.
"The stance of the committee is not anti-party, but pro-safety," Thomas said.
About 40 students have joined Options, assembling for their first committee meeting in mid October, Thomas said. The first event, on Nov. 16, was an improvisational comedy and trivia night. The next event, "S'moresgasbord," is planned for Saturday. F&M Students, faculty and staff are invited to "bring your musical talents and acoustic instruments for a night of s'mores, hot chocolate, and warm fires behind New College House. Other activities will be scheduled throughout the year.
Options builds on the efforts of another group on campus, .08, which raises awareness about consuming alcohol responsibly and encourages moderation.
Options members said they hope the new events will bring together a diverse group of students and enhance the residential experience for all.
"F&M Options is giving our great campus something that it is missing," said first-year student Josh Hoffman, vice president of the group. "By partnering with already active clubs, we will be able to field a variety of different events."
First-year student Briana Krewson said Options provides more opportunities for students to come together outside of the classroom and their College House communities.
"I think Options is going to be a great way to socialize with friends and meet new people," Krewson said.
College leaders support the group's efforts.
"Students will have the chance to do things with their weekend that they otherwise wouldn’t have thought of," said New College House Dean Suzanna Richter, who has worked with Thomas to bring the committee together.
Dean of the College Margaret Hazlett said she is impressed with the students' initiative in finding ways to enhance their college experience.
"I think this is really indicative of F&M students," she said. "They’ve taken an idea and run with it, and there’s a level of student engagement from a variety of groups."