Two weeks ago, Rail Jam 2018 sent skiers flying down the Preserve hill, getting air, taking spills, and thrilling a crowd of Colorado College students, while a SOMOS dance party and video game contest took place upstairs in McHugh Commons. CC Student Government Association and the Freerider’s Union of CC have worked together since the fall to make the event more attractive to a broader range of the student body, responding to complaints that it catered primarily to upper-class white students. After the event, however, many members of CCSGA are wondering if that goal is even possible or worth pursuing anymore.
Last Thursday, six days after the event at CCSGA’s Full Council, President Dorsa Djalilzadeh addressed the other members about Rail Jam. “If we don’t fund it, somebody else is going to fund it,” said Djalilzadeh. “I would prefer that we fund it and that we have some sort of control and commitment to Rail Jam, because I do believe that we are the best group on campus to help FUCC create a more inclusive, diverse, sustainable event.” Djalilzadeh also said that she feels like this year’s Rail Jam was better than previous years because of the effort that CCSGA and FUCC put into making it more inclusive.
While acknowledging that many organizations worked hard this year to improve Rail Jam, many council members wonder whether an inclusive Rail Jam could ever be possible. “There is no way that Rail Jam is ever going to be inclusive,” said Inclusion Committee Representative Cam Kaplan. “And the argument for keeping Rail Jam under our control is so that we can make it inclusive. Well, if we don’t fund it, that is a large amount of money that we could put towards incredible counter programming.”
Many more members who spoke at full council echoed this sentiment. “You can’t just add something and call it inclusive,” said Vice President of Finance Ariel Filion. Head of State Representative Aracely Navarro offered an idea for redirecting the funds used on Rail Jam: “We always want to include people of color in things that white people do but never turn that around,” she said. “CCSGA could focus on creating events for people of color of the same magnitude as Rail Jam.”
Alexander Makic, a co-chair of FUCC, hopes that Rail Jam continues to receive funding from CCSGA. “I want to make it more like Llama,” said Makic, who will continue as co-chair next year, emphasizing that he has a vision for a bigger event that draws in the whole campus. Christopher Birtch, the other FUCC co-chair, also hopes that CCSGA will continue to fund the event and aid in its evolution to become something for the entire student body. Both Makic and Birtch were skeptical about finding outside funding for the event, if CCSGA did not approve their budget. “I would play with the idea, but it would be kind of a tricky one,” said Makic, regarding finding another source to fund the event.
After Full Council, Filion gave her opinion on some of these issues. “I’ve been on CCSGA for three years,” she said. “Each Full Council is very different. Three years ago when I was a freshman rep … the idea of not funding Rail Jam wasn’t even a possibility on that Full Council’s brain.” Since then, Rail Jam has become a much more prominent topic of debate, and Filion emphasized that next year’s Full Council, will ultimately decide whether or not to approve the budget. “There seems to be a system in place that supports Rail Jam,” Filion said in regards to the potential for FUCC finding funding outside of CCSGA. “Will that system fund Rail Jam? I don’t know.”