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Students flock to SUB events

| Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Demand for live and in person Student Union Board (SUB) events has surged this semester, and SUB adopted a new efficiency strategy and increased social media presence to streamline the event planning process.

Courtesy of Lily Condodina
COIN lead singer Chase Lawrence performed in Legends for students who managed to get a ticket.

The Student Union Board was founded in 1967 to enhance the undergraduate student body experience through programs including movies, concerts, giveaways, festivals and similar events throughout the school year.

Program directors Matt Hall and Lily Condodina both said SUB aims to foster connections between undergraduate students from all corners of campus with a focus on helping underclassmen meet new people. They also said SUB seeks to offer a diversity of events.

“We’re trying to program to get everyone in the community involved and excited to be at Notre Dame, especially for the freshmen and sophomores,” Hall said. “A goal was just to bring different speakers and have different events that will keep students on campus engaged.”

This semester, SUB has brought several big names to campus, including the indie band COIN, comedian Noel Miller and hypnotist Chris Jones.

SUB also organized a spirit week, several giveaways, stress relievers, an outdoor trampoline event, a fall festival, six movies accompanied by conversations on representation and related topics and weekly Acousticafe concerts.

Given high demand for the COIN concert and Noel Miller event, many students wanted to attend the events but were unable to get a ticket. Hall said tickets for Noel Miller sold out in just six minutes. 

Senior Kacie Shannon said she wanted to go to the COIN concert but missed the opportunity because she wasn’t paying close attention to her Instagram feed.

Compared to past years, Shannon said the window between the concert announcement and the opportunity to buy a ticket was shorter than usual. She believes the online format is not as fair and convenient as prior years when students would get in line to secure a ticket in person.

“I remember in the past, it would be the first 200 people to get to the front of the line. I thought that was easier because it gave me a free chance ahead of time,” Shannon said.

Even though COIN is a bigger name than SUB usually brings to campus for the fall concert, Condodina said she was happy with the concert.

“One of our biggest events of the semester was bringing COIN, which was so much fun, a super long planning process, but it was an amazing experience to bring that band in and see so many students really, really excited about it,” Condodina said.

Program directors say they are aware of the high demand, especially with the return of larger events this year but remain limited due to venue availability. 

“We knew of the demand, but it’s really hard with a lot of factors that are out of our control. We reached out to bigger venues to see if they were available back in September, and they weren’t,” Hall said. “We’re definitely aware of that and taking this as a learning lesson.”

Before this semester, Hall and Condodina said SUB underwent a bit of reorganization that they hope will help them gather and understand information about past events to apply to future planning.

Hall said that in the past, SUB did not keep careful track of numbers and statistics for events, but with their new strategy analyst in the finance committee, SUB will be able to better plan and predict demand.

“One of the goals was just trying to consolidate and make sure that SUB was being as efficient as possible,” Matt said. “We’ve done a really good job at compiling all the information from previous events to help us for programming in the future.”

When planning events, SUB seeks to put students first. This year, that means adding emphasis on the role of residence hall SUB representatives who have direct communication with students in their dorms. 

“We want to hear everyone’s input, especially hearing input from the dorm reps and have them talk to their dorm at their weekly hall councils,” Hall said.

In an effort to hear from students, Hall said SUB has also been employing more Instagram polls to gauge student interest via social media. Their Instagram following recently grew to over 2,000 followers, largely boosted by buzz surrounding the COIN concert.

Looking to the future, Hall and Condodina said SUB’s goal is to give as many students as possible the opportunity to attend SUB events, continue keeping up the new database that records various statistics like attendance numbers and cost per student for each event and responding to student feedback.

“We’d like to show our appreciation to the student body for really showing up to events and joining in and giving us all the feedback they have,” Condodina said.

Following a year of strained student interactions, SUB’s events have fostered student connections and experiences as evidenced by the popularity of their events. While some students may have been left feeling excluded because of high demand, SUB’s new focus on qualitative event analysis has the potential to solve this problem in the future.

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