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SUB improves visibility, promotes annual events

| Friday, December 12, 2014

Junior Scott Copeland, executive director of the Student Union Board (SUB), said the organization’s main focus this semester was to improve student life on campus by enhancing traditional SUB events and introducing new ones.

“On the most basic level, SUB exists to [plan] for the undergraduate student body – so, to provide entertainment, really just to enhance the student experience here at Notre Dame,” Copeland said. “We do that through a variety of ways, like we put on the spring concert; we do stress relievers during finals week. … We have kind of staple events like that, but we also try to branch out and target specific groups of students.”

SUB began the school year with events Copeland said would both “enhance the first experience of campus” for new students and excite older students about their return to school. Popular events this time of year were SUB regulars – Comedy on the Quad, Movie on the Quad and Pups and Pumpkins, which brought dogs from the humane society to campus, he said.

“Our overall [plan] … for the semester, in our eyes was to, at the beginning of the semester, have events that are all-inclusive, that welcome new students to campus, welcome returning students back to campus,” Copeland said. “So we were able to, I think, succeed in that. … And again, just trying to emphasize the open atmosphere of these events – like putting [them] out in places where students are going to walk by, students are going to notice.”

SUB also hoped to branch out this semester, Copeland said. It worked with the Native American Student Alliance (NASAND) to celebrate Native American heritage month on campus and reached out to other underrepresented groups throughout the semester. SUB also introduced new events, including a bus trip to the Mockingjay premiere.

“That was one of our goals this semester, to branch out, do some new things,” Copeland said. “We brought a spoken word artist, the Asia Project, to campus, and that was one of the first times we’d done that.”

Coordinating the brand-new events this semester required additional planning and creativity from SUB members, Copeland said.

“We try to prevent the reinvention of the wheel from year to year, so there are a lot of events that we put on every single year — Comedy on the Quad is one, Fall Mall, concerts, stress relievers, movies — there are a lot of events we do every year,” he said. “And so whenever you do branch out and try to do something new, you can definitely refer to longstanding programs for ideas on how to get it done, but there will always be challenges that come up and you’ve just got to work through them.”

SUB recognized it was important to focus on its longstanding events, too, and make them more fun for students, Copeland said.

“You’re always going to have movies in DeBart Thursday, Friday, Saturday,” Copeland said. “So how do you make it so students don’t get bored of them? How do we make it so that those types of events are better?”

Copeland said spring semester events will include the Collegiate Jazz Festival, AnTostal, the spring concert and a comedian performance. Student recognition and involvement can be challenging, but SUB is working to create a bigger name for itself on campus, he said.

“For events, you always have to think about attendance,” Copeland said. “That’s one of the ways the success of an event is judged — how many people came? How did they enjoy it?”

“One of the strategies that we tried to use is almost to build the SUB brand,” he said. “… So we’ll give away pens or frisbees or T-shirts at SUB events, just to try to make people aware that we’re here. Because people kind of hear about SUB, but we’re almost kind of a ghost organization, I feel like. In other universities, their student programming boards are huge, you know, everyone knows them and they do super cool things. So that’s what we’re trying to build.”

Overall, Copeland said he believed SUB accomplished what it set out to do at the beginning of the year.

“We wanted to put on awesome events, of course, but we wanted to collaborate with other clubs, we wanted to incorporate more student groups in our events, again, getting back to our mission, which is to enhance the undergraduate experience,” Copeland said. “… I think we’ve done a great job of that this semester.”

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