The group of students at Mary Baldwin University who orchestrated campus social events was once known as the Social Committee – that evolved into the Campus Activities Association and, not long after, the Student Activities Committee. In 1991-92, Wendy Wooden became the first chair of a newly named Baldwin Program Board, and the responsibility for fueling social life on campus has rested securely with that enthusiastic group of students for more than a decade.
This year’s BPB Chairwoman Junnell Sample ’05 is on a mission to see that the organization “boosts campus morale” with social events that temporarily transport students away from course work. For instance, a comedian in the Nuthouse punctuates hours of studying, the Mr. Mary Baldwin Pageant helps people let loose on a Friday night, and a formal dance weekend gives students a reason to stash their sweat pants.
The organization’s premier event, Signature Ball, is fast approaching on January 29, and Sample is hoping to top last year’s successful turnout. Held in an exquisitely adorned Hunt Dining Hall, the formal dance invites all students to wear their best, and the accompanying mock-casino offers the welcome diversion of friendly wagering. Similar to last year, the event will also offer a live band in the east wing of the dining hall as an alternative to the DJ dance party in the west side.
“When you have a good event, people talk about it, and that is gratifying,” Sample said. “The campus feels rejuvenated after we’ve had some fun.”
In addition to the satisfaction she gets from creating a more lively campus, Sample said getting involved in BPB as a freshman helped her make friends fast. As a senior, she feels connected to the college because she played a role in many of its memorable events. All it takes to become a member of BPB is a chat with Sample or one of the five activity co-chairs. Chrissy Kellas chairs film and coffeehouse activities, Taneisha Green leads the social committee, Patricia Tolbert is in charge of special events, Tara Stokes handles publicity, and Charity Barbour maintains the group’s budget.
“When students think of BPB, they think of fun,” said Velma Carman, director of student activities and the group’s advisor for the past two years. The events have changed over the years, but the goal of having a good time has not. In 1962-63, the Social Committee’s activities included organizing the Christmas Dance, the May Day Dance, and holding an ice sculpture contest. This academic year, among other events and activities, BPB committees planned Spa Day and a magician show, and they will hold the Mr. Mary Baldwin pageant – parading boyfriends and brothers of students in a “beauty” contest – in the spring.
“These students are continually organizing events,” Carman added. “They are making smoothies one day, loading boxes the next, and then decorating and setting up 500-pound inflatables for something else. When one thing is done, it’s on to the next.”
BPB Upcoming Events
- Comedy Showcase, 8 p.m., Francis Auditorium
Three professional comedians welcome students back to campus for the spring semester.
- Signature Ball, 10 p.m., Hunt Dining Hall
The premier campus-wide formal event at the college, the night includes a DJ dance, live band, and mock-casino.
- Valentine’s Day Poet, 7 p.m., Nuthouse
Featuring the rap-like rhythmic slam poetry of Dexter Angry, a Miami native who appears frequently on Black Entertainment Television.
- Mr. Mary Baldwin Pageant, 8 p.m., Francis Auditorium
After Party, 10 p.m., Student Activities Center
Friends and relatives of Mary Baldwin students participate in a beauty pageant with a masculine twist.