The Campus Activities Board made it a top priority for good entertainment to welcome students as they return from summer break.
Eight members of CAB and other campus leaders traveled to the National Association of Campus Activities convention in Nashville, TN. While at the convention, students were able to watch a number of performers and decide if they would be interested in bringing them to our campus.
“The convention is a great way for us to see a lot of artists that we wouldn’t normally be exposed to,” said Nicole Molt, CAB president. “We try very hard to see which performers would go over well at Simpson.”
The convention is set up so that each morning students attend “ed sessions” where they discuss how to promote activities and students share ideas of what has been successful at their own campuses.
“In one of my ed sessions, a student told us that at their school, the group wears t-shirts that say, ‘Ask me what I’m doing tonight’ or ‘For a good time call . . .,'” said freshman CAB member Amy Templeton. “Then when students ask or call, you can tell them about the upcoming event. Being a corporate communications major, I thought this was good and inventive advertising.”
In the afternoon they usually had a few hours of main-stage performers.
“We saw a variety of acts-musicians, comedians, hypnotists, poets, and jugglers,” said Molt. “Some were really good and others were a struggle to sit through.”
Following the performances, the CAB students filled out evaluation forms to help in the decision-making process of which acts to contact for booking.
They were then able to talk to the performers and agents for booking purposes at the marketplace.
“We booked five comedians, a couple of bands like Daniel Tosh and Step Africa, and acoustic guitarists,” said Molt. “We are still working out contracts with a few others. Hopefully we’ll get a hypnotist for family weekend.”
The convention kick-off event was a performance by country singer Steve Azar. Comedy was provided courtesy of Saturday Night Live’s Darrell Hammond. Screech from Saved by the Bell was also a showcase performer.
According to the Assistant Dean, Rich Ramos, one of the most interesting acts he saw was the DJ Scratch Academy. They did a presentation on the history of hip-hop and scratching.
“With all of the talk about entertainment, I don’t want people to think this was all fun and games,” said Molt. “We had a lot of work to get done in order to meet all of the goals we had in mind for this convention.”
Ramos agreed that the whole experience is real work.
“People have the perception that we play a lot,” said Ramos. “But in reality it is an exhausting event. I had very high expectations for the students and they took it seriously.”
Ramos said his focus during the critiquing process was to remind the group that they were choosing entertainment for the entire campus, not just acts that they enjoyed.
“The whole experience of seeing kids working together is great,” said Ramos.
“It is a good jump start for next year’s activities and planning. And, it gets me excited about my job.”