Friday Underground is a coffeehouse event at which there is live entertainment, free food and coffee provided to all members of the Washington and Lee student body. Weekly events take place on Friday evenings from 8 p.m. - 12 a.m. in the ARC house basement (Friday Underground's venue for Fall 2015).
I. HISTORY OF ORGANIZATION
In Spring of 2015, Kassie Scott openly presented her views about the current divisions on campus when asked about the social scene by Sarah Wilson, a staff member in the Geology Department. On her own volition, Sarah Wilson then approached Dr. Kirk Luder, the university psychiatrist, to share Kassie's comments. Inspired by Kassie's passion to improve our campus climate, Dr. Luder and Sarah invited a committee of students to discuss the formation of a healthy social alternative on campus. Involved committee members included Kassie Scott, Matt Carl, Luke Quigley, Elena Diller, Daphine Mugayo, and Joshua Gross. From this group formed a more focused committee in which Kassie Scott, Matt Carl, Elena Diller, and Dana Gary, a newly added member, seized initiative
Attendees at the final meeting during Spring Term 2015 included Matt Carl, Kassie Scott, Luke Quigley, Sarah Wilson, and Kirk Luder. The enthusiasm and vision shared between Matt and Kassie established rapport, eventually leading to their partnership in co-founding Friday Underground. After many e-mails and hours spent planning, Matt and Kassie decided to create a committee of the most passionate and driven students on campus, students who recognized the shortcomings of the existing social scene and possessed a vision for positive culture change. Chosen committee members for Fall 2015 included: Matt Carl, Kassie Scott, Austin Frank, Dana Gary, Melina Knabe, Elaina Prillaman, and Audrey Dangler.
The first Friday Underground was held on September 11, 2015. Performers included Jordan Goldstein and Ralston Hartness. Attendees included individuals from all corners of campus. It is estimated that over 300 students enjoyed the first event over the course of the evening.
II. HOW & WHEN THE CONSTITUTION WAS DRAFTED AND APPROVED
In anticipation of Executive Committee Fall 2015 recognition and allocations, Matt Carl and Kassie Scott met to draft the constitution on Friday, September 25, while enjoying live music at Friday Underground. The constitution was then sent to the current Friday Underground committee before it was submitted to the Executive Committee.
III. MISSION STATEMENT
Kassie Scott and Matt Carl created Friday Underground to unite individuals from all corners of campus through live music, conversations over coffee, and a welcoming community. Friday Underground's mission underscores the importance of offering a platform on which the voices of student artists are to be promoted, supported, and celebrated. Kassie Scott and Matt Carl share their creation with the W&L community every Friday evening, 8:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m., in the Arts, Recreation, and Culture theme house basement (location for Fall 2015).
IV. PURPOSE/FOCUS OF FRIDAY UNDERGROUND
It cannot be denied that the social climate at W&L is polarizing. It is important to note, however, that Friday Underground is not intended to be a criticism of Greek life. Friday Underground offers students the community Washington and Lee promises. Put simply, we are for the students -- all students -- and by the students. We are promoting an event that can begin to change the fabric of W&L's culture through art and a healthy space. We hope to encourage the formation of genuine friendships through meaningful conversations and cross-gender and cross-cultural dialogue. All of the aforementioned points are enjoyed over a cup of coffee with live music in the background.
V. REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP
Due to the extensive time commitment Friday Underground necessitates, chosen committee members must be in good academic standing. Members must further demonstrate aspirations aligned with the mission statement and have superior logistical and artistic abilities. Members should also exhibit the ability to work effectively in a team environment. Finally, committee members must devote themselves to creating a pressure-free and peaceful space for all students to enjoy.
VI. ORGANIZATION OF LEADERSHIP
Friday Underground leadership is currently organized into a 7-person committee, which in turn is subdivided into three subcommittees, including the Directors Committee, Music Committee, and Marketing and Social Media Committee, all of which are discussed in more detail below. While subdivisions in the committee exist for efficiency purposes, it must be emphasized that Friday Underground as a committee operates as a cohesive unit, in which all members assist one another to accomplish tasks within each subcommittee on an as needed basis. For example, though the directors belong to the Director's Committee specifically, the directors also schedule artists and assist with marketing campaigns. Though each committee member has a specific focus, all committee members have a part in every sphere of planning for Friday Underground.
The Director's Committee consists of two co-directors that oversee all operations and who are responsible for decision-making and logistical issues on behalf of Friday Underground. Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
• Communicating with advisor, W&L faculty and staff, and Executive Committee members, as needed
• Managing and delegating tasks to all sub-committees
• Working closely with weekly artists
• Tending to issues with the venue by working with university facilities and public safety
• Scheduling events weekly
• Overseeing all collaborations with Friday Underground
• Responding to all communication related to Friday Underground
• Managing the budget
• Executing all purchases related to Friday Underground
• Creating shopping lists
• Heading weekly meetings with committee
• Attending meetings, as they arise, to handle pressing issues
• Writing and revising the constitution
• Implementing the vision and upholding the values of Friday Underground
• Serving as positive role models for the student body at all times
The Music Committee is co-led. One leader of the music committee is directly responsible for performance related operations, including the communication and scheduling of performers on a weekly basis. The second co-leader of the music committee is responsible for the execution of sound and set up for weekly performances.
The Marketing and Social Media Committee is co-managed by three individuals. All members work to lead marketing design operations, including but not limited to poster design and dissemination, venue decoration, and active involvement in social media. All members are also responsible for the oversight of all social media platforms. Responsibilities here include implementing creative website design, as well as executing posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Snapchat.
VII. HOW FRIDAY UNDERGROUND WILL BE BENEFICIAL TO WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY AND THE COMMUNITY
Friday Underground offers all students at Washington and Lee a safe and inclusive environment, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, affiliation with a Greek organization, or status as an independent, among other differences to be celebrated. The need for Friday Underground on Washington and Lee's campus is made obvious by the high number, estimated at 200-300, of returning attendees each week. Additionally, Friday Underground provides a platform on which student artists can express themselves through various mediums, including but not limited to music, poetry, dance, and art. Ultimately, Friday Underground has created a venue previously unavailable to students within the Lexington area: an exciting prospect.