Monday, October 27, 2014

Going over "board" for campus entertainment

Being a part of Program Board has opened so many doors and opportunities for me. I’ve met so many amazing people and have learned so much about our school and the people in it.

Program Board has given me skills and abilities that I will be able to take with me to future jobs and life in the future. Program Board has helped me grow as a person and will be one college experience I will never forget. We recently got to take our programming to the next level. Normally we have to rely on the Internet or word of mouth to find the talent and entertainment that we are looking for, but we recently got to sort through our options from watching live performances.

This weekend we went to the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) where talent from all over the country gets to show us what they are made of and why we should bring them to our school.

NACA was full of events and activities, there was never a dull moment. The event started on Thursday around 2 p.m., but I didn’t go until Friday due to midterms. When the other half of us came on Friday we went immediately to an education session.

Education sessions are session where students that are on programming committees from different schools create a presentation about anything from general member retention, late night events, and how they keep themselves organized and engaged.

These sessions are great to share ideas and insights with students from all different schools. One session was called, Class, Power, Privilege and How It Affects Your Leadership Role. Here we defined class, power, and privilege and talk about how important it is to know these terms no matter what organization you are a part of.

We also did an exercise where half the room was friendly and engaging and the other half of the room was very closed off and uninviting. This showed us how important it is to be engaging and kind to everyone that you encounter whether it’s with general members or any student on campus. The way you act might determine if they become a general member or even attend the events that we organize.

Another session I went to talked about how they quadrupled their attendance to events when they moved them one hour earlier. They only do events late at night on a Friday and Saturday but they have over 300 people coming to them. We learned their students like events where there isn’t just one thing they can do in a room, they like to be able to move around and participate in different things if they get bored.

We also learned that students love to do things that they will be able to take home with them (free stuff). So you might see some arts and crafts events starting next semester. Time to get my Pinterest on!

After the morning education session on Friday, we had lunch. During lunch we had an inspirational speaker who was 16 years old and had turrets. His story was inspiring and encouraged everyone to never judge someone before you get to know them and to treat people the way you want to be treated. This speech not only helped you on a personal level, but also helped all program boards around the mid-Atlantic with possible general member retention and recruitment.

After lunch we had a mixture of showcases and CAMPs throughout the day and into the late night. A showcase is where about eight performers and one MC performed a fifteen minute snapshot of what they had to offer. The MC would do a short five to ten minute act and then announce who the next performer would be. There were acts from comedians, hypnotists, magicians, musicians, slam poets, acrobatics, step teams, musical comedy, and more.

There was a lot of new talent compared to last year and it looked like we might be booking a few of them to come next semester. One of the MC’s called “Dakaboom” was my favorite and we hope to be bringing them here soon. And here, they do 50 theme songs in under five minutes!

Another one of my favorite acts which we had at our school a few years back was the comedian Eric O’Shae. He’s an older comedian but leaves you with a pain in your side from laughing so hard.

After the showcases we would go to what is called CAMP, which stands for Campus Activities Market Place where performers and agencies set up their booths to talk to students about what they have to offer and do small demonstrations.

 There were booths for showing films to students, inflatables, massage chairs (one of my favorites), stuff your own animal, spray paint, make your own goo, and pretty much anything you can think of that would be a cool activity to do.

My absolute favorite section of CAMP was where three main booths were set up next to each other and included Eric Mina (a hypnotist we brought last semester), Spidey (who did a mental show during orientation this semester), and a new magician that we are bringing next semester named Joel Meyers.

As I talked to them for a few hours, they showed me a bunch of magic tricks and a little bit of mentalism. This was a huge opportunity for me to network and broaden my horizons and open possible job opportunities. Since I made friends with these people that I keep in touch with on a personal level I have an open door to possibly help some performers on the marketing and advertising side of things.

All in all, this entire weekend was an amazing experience and it never would have happened if I didn’t go to a Program Board general meeting my sophomore year. If Program Board wasn’t part of my college experience, I have no idea where I would be today. I don’t think I would have had the confidence that I have today to accomplish the things that I have and continue to accomplish.

— Chelsea Underhill, senior marketing major #HuskyLife

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