CAB: valued in community, family and zest


Bella Pacinelli

Entire CAB committee beaming with pride at annual Springfest event.

Isabella Pacinelli, Features Editor

Established in 1977, Campus Activities Board, commonly referred to as CAB, provides free events for AU students. With recurring events such as Banana Splittin, Grocery Bingo and Acoustic Cafe, CAB strives to create a fun and welcoming atmosphere for everyone on campus.

This values-based organization is co-lead by seniors JT Siurek, Entrepreneurship and Business Management major and Cillian Donahue, Forensic Biology and Toxicology major.

Members of CAB keeping homecoming traditions alive with annual Pizza, Pizza, Pizza.

“We have three values which are community, family, and zest,” Donahue said. Community deals with building Ashland’s campus, family is what they do within CAB and zest mixes the passion and energy they hope to bring to every event.

Through some reassessment, the leaders of CAB narrowed five values down to three. “We always talk about what our values mean and what we can do moving forward,” Siurek said. “They give us something to strive towards.”

Every February, the co-leaders, advisor and intern of CAB, attend the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) to enjoy and pick acts to come to campus.

With a mixture of repeated and new events, CAB members are allowed to suggest ideas for new activities they would like to see.

“We sometimes get to develop a new home-grown idea and really let people’s creativity shine,” Siurek said. Last year CAB hosted AUs first Roller Rave.

CAB is funded through the student activities fee included with tuition and the ABCC on Student Senate. “On top of that, for some of our traditional events like homecoming and spring fest we do get alumni donations,” Donahue said.

The organization is also permitted to reach out to the board of trustees if there is a certain idea for a bigger event that necessitates more funding, added Siurek.

Members of CAB are planning to branch out to other organizations to co-sponsor events, that way budgets can be combined. “We’ve even talked about partnering with schools nearby and planning an event with them,” Donahue said.

In the past, bigger events, such as concerts, have required students to pay for a ticket. Siurek discussed the desire to host a musical festival but the budget only allows for certain acts to be purchased.

“Our intern and advisor, Nicole Dyer, works with scheduling contracts and has a lot of connections with a promoter that has the contacts to reach that whole industry,” he said.

Director of Student Life, Dyer, meets with the co-leaders and executive members once a week. Described as helpful and experienced in what students want, Donahue stressed the importance of Dyer’s work within CAB.

“She tends to do a fantastic job of pushing us out of the nest and letting us run with things while also helping us throughout the process,” Siurek said. “CAB would not be what it is today without Nicole.”

As co-leaders, Donahue and Siurek are responsible for laying out the schedule of events for the year.

They also assign committees to certain events, choose new members to come into CAB and run general and executive meetings, Donahue said.

“We oversee what happens in executive board and give them guidance for a lot of things and then executive board, more or less, oversees the rest of the general assembly of CAB,” said Siurek.

Donahue prefers working as a pair because they can encourage each other and collectively come up with ideas and make decisions.

“JT makes me think about a lot of things that I normally wouldn’t think of and I think I do the same for him,” she said.

New executive member and sophomore Dietetics major, Danielle Bushman, shared that CAB has made her a more outgoing person.

The organization is based around three committees: C, A and B. Each committee is given four events to plan and organize for the semester, Bushman explained.

Some tasks include contacting companies, creating decor, and figuring out the best way to advertise, she said.

“The two co-committee chairs are in charge of their group and they bounce off ideas, but ask general members if they have any other suggestions,” Bushman said.

Last semester, CAB tried to do away with basic posters in the student center. Instead, they focused on more creative ways to advertise, such as writing events on clothespins and bathroom mirrors, Donahue said. “We try to vary our marketing as much as possible.”

Anyone can apply to become a member of CAB at the beginning of the fall semester through an online application and an interview portion.

Bushman joined CAB her first semester of freshman year because she wanted to meet people and feel a part of the Ashland community.

“I think a CABee needs to be very friendly, outgoing and welcoming to the community,” she said.

Members of CAB meet once a week and they are required to attend seven events a semester, whereas executive members are required to attend eight.

With 40 members, CAB puts on roughly 12 events a semester, Siurek said. “It’s typically three events per month, usually on a Friday or Saturday, and sometimes we’ll double up on a weekend depending on the event.”

One of Bushman’s favorite events is pizza, pizza, pizza during homecoming weekend. “We get a bunch of pizza from local companies and students and the community can get pizza and hang out,” she said.

Donahue loves that CAB holds some of Ashland’s traditions. “People look forward to homecoming and springfest,” she said. “CAB builds a sense of Ashland pride.”

In a small town like Ashland, CAB provides entertainment that people can enjoy when it feels like there is nothing to do, Siurek said. “We want to be a place where anyone can come and build a friendship that could potentially last a lifetime.”

Success in the eyes of this organization does not always mean large attendance, Donahue said.

“We have expectations of how fun an event was and how much people enjoyed it,” she said. “Even if no one comes, we will still enjoy it.”

CAB is also looking into getting more feedback from students this year.

“We’re talking about possibly getting a QR code that people can scan when they walk out the door to fill out an exit survey so that people will have a little more say of what they want to see,” Donahue said.

In addition, there will be new software set in place in order to analyze which people are coming to certain events.

“We’re going to swipe people’s cards when they come,” she said. “That will give us a general idea of who’s coming and split them by major and gender.”

Both Siurek and Donahue wanted to spotlight their partnership with Tech Crew which is responsible for the set-up of events in Redwood.

“I think Tech Crew is sometimes overshadowed because we’re the ones seen at all the events,” Siurek said. “We can’t thank them enough for all that they do.”

CAB strives to provide a safe and controlled environment for college students, Bushman said.

“It definitely pulls away from some of the night life because our events are mainly at night,” she said.

Bushman has many ideas she hopes to implement in her new executive position.

“I definitely feel that we need to get more interaction,” she said. She has suggested a trivia night, murder mystery event and expansion on last year’s Pumpkin Palooza.