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CAC and ME combine, change election process

By Amanda Hancock
On February 14, 2013

Campus Activities Council (CAC) and Miami Entertainment (ME) are merging to form a new event planning organization called Miami Activities and Programming (MAP).

The former organizations, CAC and Miami Entertainment are in the process of consolidating, according to Scott Walter, vice president of Student Affairs.

"We had two program boards in the same office doing the same things-it just didn't make sense," he said.

Because of this, Walter gave them the challenge of restructuring.

"I told them I wanted to see one student board and I couldn't be more proud of what these students have come up with," Walter said.

This organization will be funded in the same way CAC and ME have been in the past and the budget will remain the same, at just under $300,000. CAC's typical budget was $245,000.

Senior EJ Corporan, president of CAC, said he's happy with the results of MAP.

"There's no way you can justify having two programming organizations on one campus, if you look at any other campus it's not what really what it's like - you have one," he said.

Although it's been a tough few months, Walter said this was the best decision for Miami as a whole.

"I'm extremely pleased with where things are, there were some tough conversations but they were able to look outside their own organizations and I really think they're happy with it," Walter said.

One change that comes along with MAP's structure is how positions such as president is chosen. It will no longer be student-body elected as in previous years, but instead chosen internally by the executive committee.

"It's better this way, with the committee deciding it because they have learned what works and doesn't work," Walter said.

Laura Whitmire, assistant director of Student Affairs, will be the advisor for MAP. She said members of Miami Entertainment and CAC took part in the vote and each candidate that received 60 percent moved on to the interview round.

"The candidates were then interviewed by a slate committee made up of four outgoing seniors of Miami Entertainment and four outgoing seniors of CAC," Whitmire said.

This past week, junior Andrew Grinstein was named president of MAP. He will receive a stipend of $3500, the same as this year's CAC president.

He is now assembling a leadership team to officially begin mapping out the logistics, says Corporan.

"This organization is going through a really fragile transition, it's really important that the right person is in charge to make sure it goes smoothly," Corporan said.

The transition has been a group effort, said Corporan; he has been working with the president of Miami Entertainment, senior Shelby Knostman, to create MAP since the summer. Last semester, five members from each board and met weekly to discuss and construct what the changes would look like. The result is a hybrid of the CAC and Miami Entertainment structures. Before, Miami Entertainment encompassed smaller-scale programming such as AfterDark, Miami Memos and Design Division while CAC planned larger campus-wide events ranging from concerts to Homecoming and Family Weekend.

"We fill each other's holes, it's a really good move," Corporan said.

Because of this dynamic, forming a completely unique organization was necessary.

"We knew, regardless, that the name would have to change because this isn't CAC anymore and this isn't Miami Entertainment anymore; it's brand new," Corporan said.

Walters said branding the new name is crucial.

"The name is almost irrelevant because in two years no one will know the difference, but it's important to get the word out right now," he said.

Corporan agreed, saying discussions about how to make MAP known on campus are in full swing.

"People know what CAC is and as we lose that name, we are facing a battle to make people aware that we are doing the same things that were done before just under a new name, bringing in a really strong dynamic with Miami Entertainment," he said.

Although it's a good move forward, dissolving two well-known organizations is not easy.

"I think it's difficult for everyone; I grew up in CAC so I have a lot of affinity for this organization and I've worked very hard to make it a strong organization," he said.

"But really, we're taking the best attributes of each one and putting them together to create something so much bigger and better than my experience at Miami," Corporan said.

A catalyst for the merge was the upcoming opening of the Armstrong Student Center.

"It's all about providing a vibrant student life on campus and with this new space, the organization can together easier," Walter said.

He said, especially with the student center providing more spaces and opportunities, this is the perfect time to refresh programming and it's long overdue.

"If there's anything frustrating about this, it is why didn't this happen sooner," Corporan said.

The ultimate winner, he said, is the student body.

"We're getting two groups of people together here that are very talented in different ways to create a new breed of phenomenal events," he said.

Because MAP, unlike CAC or Miami Entertainment, will allow members to work and collaborate on different boards throughout the year, it will be a more creative atmosphere.

"This is defining what programming and events are going to look like at Miami for the next half of a decade, so this is really exciting to be a part of and I'm ecstatic that I had the opportunity to be in charge when this was all happening," Corporan said.

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