Block Party, SPC Budgets Altered

The Student Programming Council (SPC) will no longer co-host the Block Party, an annual fall concert for students on Eagle Row. The move will enable SPC to fund smaller initiatives throughout the semester but will also replace the customary Block Party band with a DJ.

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Intersorority Council (ISC) will host the event in collaboration with the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) this year. This year, SPC has been aiding the co-sponsors in planning and running the event but is not an official co-sponsor, College senior and SPC President Will Levinson noted.

SPC has co-sponsored the event with the IFC and ISC since the organizations established Block Party in 2010. The event originally took place late in the spring semester but has occurred during the fall for the past two years to ensure that the event is held before freshmen recruitment in the spring, Levinson said.

This year, Run the Row, which traditionally marks the end of Emory’s fraternity recruitment periods, will kick off the Block Party on Saturday, Sept. 15 — following upperclassmen rush — on Eagle Row.

The co-sponsors of Block Party will hire a DJ instead of a performer this year, according to Goizueta Business School senior and IFC President Victor Rudo. He wrote that hiring a performer “is a substantial cost with limited benefit.” In the past, the fall concert on Eagle Row has featured groups like Canadian indie rock band Born Ruffians and indie pop rock duo Matt & Kim.

The Greek organizations involved in hosting Block Party this year had to eliminate the performer because they have less funding than SPC did for the event, according to  director of the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life Megan Janasiewicz.

Block Party will also place a greater emphasis on recruiting new Greek members, according to Rudo. The Block Party aims “to make [Eagle] Row more welcoming and comfortable for freshmen,” according to Levinson.

Janasiewicz said that while IFC and ISC are taking over the event, other students are still permitted and encouraged to attend.

“We still want it to be an open event, but it is just being funded more from a fraternity and sorority perspective,” she said.

College senior and ISC President Camille Sheppard said that despite these changes, the event will mostly remain the same.

“We’re largely basing the event off of what SPC has done in the past,” Sheppard said. “We followed the model that they used to [sponsor] the event.”

According to Sheppard, fraternities and sororities will pair up to host different booths at the Block Party. This year’s Block Party will feature a mechanical bull, food and music, along with other events that will “bring the community together,” Sheppard said.

To prepare for the event, IFC and ISC have formed a planning committee with NPHC and MGC and have been working with a food vendor, the Emory Police Department and the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life to “ensure Block Party runs smoothly,” Rudo explained.

SPC will use the funds traditionally allocated to Block Party to sponsor smaller events such as a Halloween event and a new cellphone app, according to Levinson.

SPC members discussed removing the organization as a co-sponsor of the event during meetings last semester, Levinson said.

Levinson also noted that many general body members “felt it was becoming too Greek-centric,” meaning that the event already had a focus on fraternity and sorority life and recruitment.

“As SPC, we’re not a Greek organization by any token, and [we] encompass all nine schools of the University,” Levinson said. He added that it makes sense for IFC, ISC and the other Greek umbrella organizations to host the event given that its goal is to introduce freshmen to Eagle Row.

The event was also becoming too expensive for SPC’s budget and had placed “too much of a strain” on SPC’s special events budget, Levinson said, adding that SPC “really wants to have more diversified events and not just Block Party.”

The details of the smaller events and initiatives that SPC will add this semester have yet to be determined. Thus far, however, SPC has launched a new “SPC Beyond” initiative in which the organization will assist other groups on campus with planning and preparing for events they plan to hold.

“Maybe an organization doesn’t want our stamp on the event; maybe they just want to know how to plan an event,” Levinson said. “We are getting that kind of advisory and consulting relationship going.”

Levinson said that SPC’s assistance to IFC and ISC in planning the Block Party is “a good first part” of the SPC Beyond Initiative.

— By Jordan Friedman