The Pillars of Canisius: If Anticoli can’t, then no one can

By CJ Gates

If you’ve strolled through the tunnels or taken a look at the Stall Street Journal, you’ve almost certainly seen the phrase “Student Programming Board Presents…”

The Student Programming Board, more commonly known by its three letter acronym SPB, is technically not a club at all. Rather it’s a council that is a subset of the Undergraduate Student Associate and has been since the dissolution of the office of Campus Programming and Leadership Development two years ago.

Resident Assistant and SPB Chair Kate Anticoli is in her second year with SPB, and her first year in charge after taken over for the graduated programming czar Emma Carberry.

“I have always been the type of person that wants to move up in an organization,” Anticoli said. “So, as a sophomore I started to get more involved – I was a Special Events Coordinator and the more involved I got with SPB, the more I realized how much I enjoyed it, so I decided to go for the Chair position.

“I had been thinking about it for a while and then our current Chair at the time, Emma, came up to me and said, ‘You know, you’re really good at this, you should consider taking over for next year.’ And I was like ‘oh wow, I have been thinking about it.’ We had that conversation in October and from that point on, she would just share different things that she thought would be helpful and I paid attention to what she did a little more closely.”

Though the chair may have changed and the club experienced a great deal of turnover with four of the club’s major E-Board members having graduated at the end of last year, SPB has maintained the same high level of programming that students have come to expect at Canisius.

Gina Trippe, who serves as Griff Flix Coordinator (SPB’s bi-weekly movie series held in Palisano Pavilion), is in her third year with SPB, second as an E-Board member, didn’t notice much of a change after Anticoli took over for Carberry.

“It’s pretty similar just because we’re still doing the same things that we did last year,” Trippe said. “There wasn’t much change in structure and how we worked as an organization with the changing of chairs. We got a bunch of new people because so many people graduated, so I think we started getting new ideas and new voices within SPB, but I wouldn’t say that the organization itself or the events themselves have changed.”

Students usually recognize the large scale events that SPB puts on each year. Griff Fest (formerly known as Spring Fest, which was formerly known as Quad Party), Fall Fest, Christmas in the Quad, Semi-Formal, Welcome Week, Build-a-Bear and the Fall performer are all staples of SPB and usually draw a large crowd.

However, many students may fail to realize just how many events and programs SPB puts on each semester. In addition to the main events and Griff Flix, there are weekend events, travel events, where SPB takes students to events around Buffalo, and tri-weekly fitness events. In total, the number of SPB events rounds out to over 60 each semester.

This year’s fall performance, organized by Special Event Coordinator Vince Bargnes, was White Panda, an EDM group that was a break from the performers of years past which has included comedian Bo Burnham, country duo Love and Theft and American Idol winner Phillip Phillips.

The Fall performer typically eats up a large portion of SPB’s budget for the semester, which, by far, is the largest of any student organization on campus, though, given the sheer scale of some of the events which SPB puts on, the exorbitant budget is seemingly justified. Putting on over 120 events each year comes at a price, so while the 200,000 dollars SPB was allocated for the Fall semester may seem like a lot, when it you break it down to cost per event, the number is a lot easier to understand.

Spring, of course, brings with it the ever-popular Build-a-Bear event, which almost never has enough materials to distribute to the large crowds clamoring for their own stuffed bears. Build-a-Bear started off as a Griffins After Dark event that SPB sponsored when CPLD was tasked with planning a large portion of the campus events. Last year, it was weekend event, however this year it is a special event, which means that the event is the focus of a Special Event Coordinator for the entire semester, as opposed to when it was a weekend event and was one of three or four events per semester that a Weekend Programmer would focus on.

Weekend Programmers, as their name would suggest, plan events that take place on Friday and Saturday evenings. There are three Weekend Programmers, Alexis Book, Lee Locklear and Hannah Flynn, in charge of coming up with and executing four events per semester.

One of the biggest challenges with planning for weekend events, according to Book, is that it’s impossible to determine how many students are going to show up to any given event.

“It’s kind of difficult to budget for weekend events because you never know if you’re going to get 20 people or if you’re going to get 250 people,” Book said.

Though attendance varies from event to event, this year across the board attendance has been down not only at SPB events, but events all across campus. However, the decreased attendance may lead to changes next semester for SPB.

According to Anticoli as well as Member Coordinator Taylor Speer, fitness events may undergo a transformation next semester since attendance at those events has been sporadic throughout the semester.

“We really have to find a way to get students excited,” Speer explained. “If people see the same things over and over, then there’s less excitement, so there might be some changes for next semester with less events per week, but something like a wellness week or we might bring in wellness speakers and see if we can get professors to offer extra credit to students for going. Whenever we see the apathy among students, we try to do whatever we can to change it.”

However, as we’ve seen with the griffin statue this past month, student apathy appears to be a widespread issue across campus. Though if anyone can crack the code to getting students more involved, SPB might just be the group to do it.


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