ASUU plans more events in a year than the average student realizes. Their events board puts together 30-32 events per year and ASUU altogether puts together around 60, which the events board also helps to coordinate. There are 14 different boards within ASUU and each board has a series of chairs and team members to help them accomplish their goals. I spoke with Josh Garff, the campus events board director and two of his chairs: Makayla Smith, concerts chair, and Jacob Young, film chair.
Their goal is to put together enriching and fun activities for students to participate in year-round. Garff said, “We always ask if this is a good use of student funds” before they finalize any project. Their events are “a way to better the lives of students,” as Young said, and they put a lot of thought into what events they host and when they throw them.
Smith is currently working on Redfest, an annual free concert for students. She wasn’t able to reveal this year’s artist, but she could share the date: April 12. “The reason we picked April 12 is because it’s when most other university events aren’t happening and it’s right before finals. It’s a fun way for students to relax and come together as [a] whole before they go and study,” Smith said.
Unsurprisingly, planning an event like Redfest is no small endeavor. Smith has been working on it since the day she started her position. “This year we changed venues to the Huntsman Center, so hopefully we can add more seating,” Smith said. Last year, they sold about 8,000 tickets and 6,500 to 7,000 students attended. This year, they will have a shiny new events center and an amazing artist to match.
As part of the search process, Smith goes through genre surveys and a comprehensive list of artists to get final approval from an advisory committee. The committee is comprised of board directors and chair heads from different departments in ASUU. Dean of students, Lori McDonald, also gets a vote as well as some students on campus who express an interest in the process.
Films are a little less elaborate to plan, although no less fun. Currently on the docket, “Captain Marvel” will be shown on March 7, and “Avengers: Endgame” will be April 25. When Young plans his events he tries to pick films that will be enjoyable for students, but also meaningful to campus. “Captain Marvel” will be presented in partnership with the Women’s Resource Center. “We aren’t just choosing a movie,” Young said. “We are choosing a movie with the goal of reaching out or partnering with a group on campus so that they can be visible and students can get to know their resources.”
For most films presented at a theater, roughly 150-200 students will attend. That number is a bit smaller than Redfest’s 8,000, but there are more films which might appeal to students. “Not only are we doing something recreational, but we try and give it a deeper purpose so it’s a fun event and a meaningful event.” Garff estimated they present around 12 movies a year.
“We are hoping, in the future, groups will come to us and we will be able to help them,” Young said. Currently, outreach chair Zoey Walker handles ASUU’s partnerships with other university groups. “I have the idea and she takes it and runs,” Young said. ASUU is always looking for student input and opportunities to help students better their education, whether that is partnering with campus groups or putting together ideal events. “By throwing events of different varieties, it provides an opportunity to get to know other people and have fun at things [students] enjoy doing,” Garff said.
ASUU events board is a much more complicated process than it would seem and we do have students dedicated to making student life more fun. All of the board chairs have regular office hours on the ASUU website and they would be happy to hear student feedback anytime. They “help students empower students” in Garff’s words, so don’t be afraid to be empowered. And don’t forget to enjoy your education.