Student Union Board looks to diversify events, increase branding
Mariah Rush | Thursday, December 6, 2018
Bringing high-profile guests, student concerts and movies to the student body, the Student Union Board (SUB) has made its goal diversifying its events and branding itself more distinctly this semester.
“We saw a lot of people that knew events that SUB did and have been to some events that SUB has done, but did not know they were SUB events or didn’t even know what SUB was,” senior Allison Dopazo, director of operations for SUB, said. “So we tried to brand ourselves more and increase awareness of who we are as a group.”
Bethany Boggess, executive director of SUB, said SUB sponsors campus events on a weekly basis. In the last week alone, SUB hosted a talk with Karamo Brown from the Netflix show “Queer Eye” and held its annual fall concert. Although professional artists typically perform at the SUB fall concert, this year the group chose to showcase student talent.
“We mostly just wanted to recognize how much student talent there is on this campus and how few opportunities there are to preform,” Boggess said. “Obviously we have AcoustiCafe, but the fall concert really allowed for other types of performers to engage.”
Other notable events from this semester include $3 movies — the most recent being “Polar Express” — and AcoustiCafe, which showcases student performers in a low-key setting Thursday nights in Duncan Student Center.
Boggess said the movie showings have been successful for SUB this semester.
“We’ve been really strategic with the movies that we’ve chosen to try to consider different groups of students on campus and what they might like to see and not just what we want to see,” she said.
Boggess acknowledged that SUB is typically known for its concerts and its ability to bring big names to campus, but she wishes other SUB events would be recognized more.
“I think that people mostly know the concerts, which is fun, but I still feel like that’s all anyone is waiting for … but I’m just like, ‘No, look at all these cool things we do, like movies every week for only $3 and we have AcoustiCafe every week,’” Boggess said. “We just did an event where we had a bunch of free pastries and coffee from Einstein’s Bagels and really cool professors came and you could just hang out with them and ask them about their lives. … So I wish that it was easier to get people roped in.”
Boggess said she also believes many people on campus do not know their favorite events may be SUB-sponsored and noted an increase in branding as one of their semester goals.
“Again, going back to people not attributing events to SUB or people don’t attribute the events that they love to SUB … maybe they know what AnTostal is, but they didn’t realize it was a SUB event,” she said. “ … Maybe that is a branding issue on our part.”
Dopazo said nine committees work together to put on the many events SUB hosts, including the Concerts Committee.
“I think on a leadership perspective, it’s important that all the lead programmers of the nine committees we have — concerts being one of them — feel equally as important and feel like they’re equally contributing to what SUB is and to the student body in general,” Dopazo said. “Because I don’t think it’s fair for the concerts lead programmer to have all those pressures and then for all the other lead programmers to feel like their stuff isn’t as important, which it obviously is.”
Dopazo and Boggess both said they are proud of their work this semester in diversifying SUB’s events, and noted that the AnTostal theme for the coming semester will also be a nod to this effort, though the theme has not been released yet.
“This year, I think we’ve diversified our events, and I think that’s because we have had more of an eye for that,” Dopazo said. “One example is the Karamo Brown event. He’s a very proud, gay, black man, and it’s so important to have this kind of voice expressed, especially on our campus.”
Dopazo said the organization is trying to promote diversity in its other events as well.
“We’ve diversified our movies to incorporate different kinds of interests, and things of that nature,” she said
SUB also welcomed a new advisor this year, Alicia Bates, who has helped the group keep a mindful approach to their planning.
“[Bates is] really pushing us, and what’s really nice is that since she’s brand new, she’s able to see SUB from a totally external point of view,” Boggess said. “So we will say ‘OK, here’s our movies lineup.’ And she’s like, ‘Why?’ And then you’re forced to think about, ‘OK, why are we doing this?’”
With the many different student programming groups on campus, Boggess and Dopazo recognize there are many options for students and have made an effort to work with other groups to create events instead of competing with them.
“We try to do so much,” Boggess said. “But I guess overall, we just want to provide programming to the student body that’s something that they want and that they desire for their college experience to make use of Notre Dame as a destination that cool people will want to come and engage in and to just bolster the community as much as possible.”
This past semester, SUB has made it its goal to increase their offerings to a wider range of the student body, and its efforts to diversify the big names they bring to campus have showed, such as in the Karamo Brown talk. SUB’s presence can be felt throughout campus, and the consistent range of events available does not hurt, but its signature event — the fall SUB concert — fell flat, with many students not even realizing it took place this semester and no recognizable artist headlining.