In response to low student turnout at many events in recent semesters, leaders of the Georgetown Program Board said that they have begun a campaign to increase campus awareness and involvement and to bring more enticing entertainment to the Hilltop. The GPB hosts a number of social events for students, including concerts and movie screenings. Ketan Bhalla (SFS ’07), who served until January as chair of the group, said that he has been discouraged by low turnouts at many of its recent programs. He said that while attendance has remained strong at a select few of the GPB’s most high-profile events, such as Mr. Georgetown and the annual Halloween screening of “The Exorcist” in Gaston Hall, most events have failed to attract a wide turnout. “I would have liked to have seen a larger turnout at some of our other events,” he said. “I don’t think I would ever want to see attendance to GPB events be less than they have been.” Elsa Heffernan (COL ’08), who became chair of the GPB in January, attributed the low turnout to scheduling difficulties and a lack of campus advertising. Heffernan said that the group rarely posted flyers for its events around campus in recent semesters, but has already begun to advertise this semester more and to post its event schedules on its Web site. She said that this has helped attendance at the GPB’s weekend movie to double to approximately 40 students per showing. Some students, however, said that the GPB’s new public campaign has had little effect on them. Tara Powers (MSB ’10) said that she was unaware of any of the group’s events. “To be honest, I don’t even know what the Georgetown Program Board is,” she said. Anna Goldstein (COL ’10) thinks that the GPB has promoted its events well. “I’ve seen their flyers around campus,” she said. “Their events look fun; I just don’t have time to go to them.” Goldstein suggested that GPB hold concerts at more convenient times. “I think that a lot of their events are held when things are hectic,” she said. Heffernan said that the group is unable to schedule many large-scale events in the winter because they require use of the McDonough Gymnasium, which is often unavailable during basketball season. “We don’t always know when we’ll get McDonough,” she said. Heffernan said that GPB is largely ineffective during the spring semester because the group’s board turns over at the beginning of each calendar year. She added that the group plans to increase attendance in coming semesters by offering more attractive promotions. She said that she hopes to bring a well-known comedian to campus and schedule trips to Six Flags and Washington Nationals games. She added that the GPB hopes to plan events in conjunction with several other student organizations, including the Lecture Fund, WGBT and GUSA. Heffernan said that attendance has been poor at committee meetings this academic year, and predicted that, with increased student input, the GPB will be able to offer a wider variety of programs. She said that the recent advertisement initiatives may help boost turnout at the group’s meetings. “Having a lot of people on the committee helps us decide more accurately how we want to allocate our funds,” she said. Bhalla said that he hopes the new campaigns will contribute to GPB’s long-term impact on campus life. “Even though it is one of the biggest and most active organizations campus, people still ask, `What is GPB?’ and I really wanted to eliminate that question,” Bhalla said. “I think we were able to improve name-recognition, but we still need to be further cemented into Georgetown culture.”

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