SUB broadens appeal, prepares for spring events
Mel Flanagan | Friday, December 7, 2012
SUB hosted an incredibly successful fall event when Seth Meyers came to town, but will need to brace itself to handle the Holy Half on top of its regular duties.
The Student Union Board (SUB) has focused the first semester of its term on gauging student interest in different types of events the board could host on campus.
Board manager Ashley Markowski said the board’s primary goal for the year was receiving input from a greater number of University students on SUB’s activities.
“We’ve been trying to send out more surveys through our dorm representatives to send out to their halls,” she said. “We want to know what artists do you know, what artists would you attend concerts for, things like that.”
Although the majority of SUB’s events will take place in the spring, Markowski said the organization has seen great success in some of their events they have held in the fall.
On Sept. 7, “Saturday Night Live” head writer Seth Meyers performed a comedy act that marked the largest event in SUB’s history. About 2,100 people attended the Friday night event in the Stepan Center, and another 3,000 watched on a screen outside the dome.
Markowski said other popular events included a lecture by Pat Brown, an award-winning author and criminal profiler, a Christmas sale and showings of popular summer blockbusters such as “The Avengers” and “21 Jump Street.”
“One of the things we’ve heard about Fall Mall is it’s so early that most people can’t come to it so they wanted a different sale later in the year,” she said. “It had Christmas lights, decorations, mini trees, any Christmas product that Bed, Bath & Beyond sells.”
SUB, the largest programming organization on campus, has also worked on incorporating two new programs to its previous 13 departments.
The new Festivities program organizes holiday-themed events geared toward building morale for students. During the fall semester, Markowski said Festivities has planned pumpkin picking and painting activities.
Despite its success, Markowski said the group faced several challenges this semester, particularly when the elevator in LaFortune Student Center was being repaired.
“We hold the majority of our events in the ballroom because it’s the biggest space where we can pass out food, etc.,” she said. “But we wanted to make sure all our events were available to all of campus so we had a difficult time planning the first half of the year with finding new locations.”
Looking forward to the spring, Markowski said the board has several items on its agenda. The group is currently searching for both an act and an alternate location for the annual spring concert.
“We’re trying to move it out of Stepan because we’ve seen complaints due to space that not everyone can attend if they want to,” Markowski said. “We’ve been looking at Compton [Family Ice Area] since they just had a concert there.”
The board is also charged this year with organizing the annual Holy Half Marathon for the first time in the run’s history.
“The run is normally bounced around between different people and class councils so we wanted a permanent home,” Markowski said. “That’s been a really big challenge, trying to do such a large event for the first time.”
SUB is also making changes to the Notre Dame Literary Festival.
“Most people go to events in the first two to three weeks of the semester so we’re trying to move the ND Literary Festival to the second week of classes,” Markowski said. “We’re looking at some authors for that. We want the theme to be authors that have books that have become movies, and we’re trying to have a movie watch go on with the authors.”
On a larger scale next semester, the group will work on reaching more students with its advertising. Markowski, who lives off campus this year, said she realized how isolated some members of the student body are.
“I notice I don’t ever see the posters, and I don’t go to hall council, so it’s really hard to reach some people,” she said. “We have a Facebook group, which just got one thousand followers, and we’d like to expand that to as many undergrads as possible.”