SPB’s first W.I.L.D. features new sustainability measures, more festival-style atmosphere

| News Editor

Brian Benton | Student Life

Yeasayer performs atop an inflatable couch thrown onto the stage by concert attendees. Yeasayer performed first at spring W.I.L.D., held last Friday.

This year’s WILD saw more headlining artists, novel sustainability efforts and new day events, under the direction of the Social Programming Board (SPB), created in November.

The concert, which featured performers Yeasayer, Mat Kearney and Atmosphere in a festival-style lineup, was the first to be organized by SPB. Among the changes were new sustainability efforts, which included boxed water, compostable utensils and waste stations manned by student members of the Green Events Commission (GEC) and volunteers.

“Over the years, Wash. U. has made a very strong effort to become more sustainable, and I think that we were still able to provide students all of the safety in terms of water, and we were still able to do all of that, but do it in working with the GEC and fulfilling Wash. U.’s goal to be more eco-friendly,” SPB’s WILD director and sophomore Anna Eisenberg said.

Eisenberg noted that students were excited about the boxed water, and said the product will definitely be back for next year’s WILD.

“They didn’t know what it was, they picked it up to see what it was, and it became a conversation topic, and then people were just drinking it to see what it was,” she said.

Brian Benton | Student Life

Singer-songwriter Mat Kearney plays a set on the Brookings Quadrangle. W.I.L.D. on Friday.

Despite the concern that students wouldn’t be able to find the waste stations on the quad, Eisenberg said there was a marked reduction in trash on the quad following the event.

“We found while cleaning up, there was actually less trash around,” she said. “I think that [the GEC] did a really good job. They had some of their students manning the stations, and no complaints on that end. I think it went really well.”

According to SU’s Executive Advisor for Sustainability and junior Jake Lyonfields, the stations on the quad replaced trash bins entirely.

“One of the reasons we were initially hesitant to not have those bins all over the grounds was because we thought people would just dispose of whatever they were eating or drinking on the ground, and some people…still did that,” Lyonfields said. “But in order to compensate for that we had…workers who were walking around with bags picking up trash that was left on the ground, and then they would bring those bags full of trash to the waste stations and we would actually sort it out.”

Though rain clouds loomed throughout the day, sophomore and SPB President Emma Tyler said the weather did not keep students from turning out for the day’s events.

“Attendance was in line with what it normally was. The students still came out and enjoyed the concert. It was a little colder, but students seemed in good spirits and the weather didn’t seem to deter anyone from coming out to the quad,” Tyler said.

A new afternoon event on the Swamp, Walk In Chow Down, featured cupcakes, ice cream and barbecue in an effort to make WILD more of an all-day event.

“The event on the Swamp pulled in more students to be spending time with each other and eating and being on campus throughout the day,” Tyler said.

According to Chief of Police, Don Strom, there were three students transported from campus to the hospital, one from WILD, one from a residence hall the South 40 and one from a residence hall in the Village.

At least 13 students were treated for intoxication around campus on Friday, and several students were declined entry to the event because of severe levels of intoxication, Strom said.

In future WILDs and other events, Tyler said the new structure under the Social Programming Board will allow for more advance planning.

“From this point forward, every concert will be booked a full semester in advance,” Tyler said. “So that’ll help us with being able to plan production farther in advance, bigger reveal plans farther in advance, we’ll be able to reveal sooner to campus, and it’ll really give us a chance also to just explore more options in terms of artists.”

The board hopes to better utilize the new Outreach Director position to solicit student opinions when booking artists and planning other aspects of the event.

Brian Benton | Student Life

Atmosphere performs at spring W.I.L.D.

“The outreach director was appointed in November with the rest of our board, but we didn’t use a lot of student surveys and outreach this semester just because of our timeline and we needed to book as soon as possible since we were appointed in November. But moving forward, student opinions and outreach will always be a part of the process,” she said.

While Eisenberg acknowledged that Social Programming Board has room to learn and change, she considers the board’s first WILD a successful event.

“I think we’re still figuring out how SPB works and how we’re going to change WILD and make it better in the future, but I think that overall, we were very happy with how the new structure helped in terms of planning it,” she said. “I think the board was stronger than it has been in the past, and I think that being a part of SU and having this whole new structure actually really benefited WILD.”