By Tanner Carlson
Once a month Southwestern College has free movie night where any student can go to the movies and watch the movie of their choice without having to pay at the theater. The latest movie night was Jan. 11.
There is a lot of preparation that goes into holding this monthly event. Anjaih Clemons, director of Campus Life, contributes to StuFu meetings involving free movie night. “Once we sit down and plan our calendar for the semester of events and activities” Clemons explains. “That’s when we choose what Wednesday’s we want to have movie night, and usually movie night is the first thing we add to the calendar.”
Having a good relationship helps with organizing when the event will take place. StuFu will call the theater to tell them when they plan on having the event and the theater will accommodate them.
The movie theater has to make money somehow, so it can provide for these events. The coined term “free” movie night is a loose representation of what it really is.
“The cost of movie night is really based on our attendance” Clemons says “I’ve seen our invoices as low as $700, and I’ve seen it a high as $2,000.”
StuFu uses its budget that is paid by the students from the student activity fee once students enroll to the college. “So basically, yes we call it ‘free’ movie night, but in essence you guys already paid for it” Clemons explains. “You just don’t have to pay for it upfront right then and there.”
Dan Falk, dean of students, “In 2005, that’s when we started the student activity fee, so that’s why I cringe a little bit when they call it ‘free’ movie night, because technically it’s not free.”
Southwestern has been having movie night since the mid-to late 1990s. That’s when the campus life office paid for movie night out of their budget, but began growing in popularity with the student body. The campus life budget was then unable to support free movie night, thus introducing the student activity fee.
“Now, we can have more students,” said Falk. “And we can have it more frequently, so now we have a movie night every month for the entire school year.”
Faculty can partake in the activities. The movie night is only free for the attending students, however if staff and faculty want to experience the night with their students, they have to pay for their own ticket, or choose to chaperone the event.
Victoria Lybarger, elementary education sophomore, is responsible for what movies are show from the available movies that are showing at the theater, the budget for that month to see if students can get vouchers for popcorn, and to delegate other responsibilities to her team in Stufu.
“The officers I work with, having good communication with them and for them to communicate well with the members that work under them, then it wouldn’t be as smooth as it is” Lybarger explains. “I’m not going to lie it’s not always smooth either.”
The night is great for the campus’ community. Students from different majors, programs, and activities can come together one night a month and relate to something other than school work. The day of the week movie night is planned is intentional to help alleviate stress.
“Wednesday’s are a time of the week that might seem stressful to a lot of people” said Lybarger. “Once you get there you don’t have to worry about anything, and I like being able to have the opportunity to provide campus wide.”
Tanner Carlson is a junior majoring in communication. You may email him at email@example.com.