UCS Rocks… Literally
If you know much about me, then you’ll know I absolutely love music. Music has been a huge part of my life since I was born: From listening to Mozart in my crib as a baby (because… brain stimulation) to taking piano lessons as a kid to creating a concert fund in high school. My love for music has not died as I can hardly go a day without picking up a guitar or plugging my phone up to my stereo to jam. However, coming into college, I had no idea that I could be personally involved in bringing some of my favorite bands to OBU’s campus.
During my freshman year, I was on the tennis team and therefore didn’t have much time for extracurricular activities. However, towards the end of that year, I heard Trip Lee was coming to campus. I went to the concert, had a great time, and even got to meet Trip afterward. That was the first time I had any interaction with University Concert Series (UCS). When my sophomore year rolled around, Switchfoot came to campus. Man, let me tell you, they killed it! Jon Foreman is a legend!
After that concert, one of my friends who was in UCS told me about how he was able to help prepare and set up for the concert. He then told me more about UCS and suggested that I apply to be in it myself. I had more time on my hands that year since I was no longer playing tennis, so I went for it. I’ve never regretted that decision. Being a part of UCS has been incredible, and it’s something I’ll do until I graduate. Let me give you a few details on why being in UCS is so rad!
- You get to help choose who comes to campus
At the beginning of the school year, UCS members talk to fellow students and find out what music artists they would like to have on campus. Top suggestions are then submitted. Following this, the members have a listening party. This is where we listen to clips of music from the artists suggested and vote on which ones we like the most. The co-chairs take the votes and budget into consideration and that’s how we decide which artists to invite. It’s an exciting process and it’s super cool how students get to be a part of making that happen!
- You get to interact with the artists themselves
This is one of the coolest things about UCS! Once an artist is scheduled to come to OBU, we get to advertise for them beforehand. As the concert draws near, certain people are assigned specific tasks. For example, some people set up the green room. They get the list of all the food, drinks, etc. the artists request, go to the store to pick those things up, and set everything up in the room. Other people work merch and get to help the band’s merch guy set up and sell the items. Many of us help unload the band’s equipment and also pack it up after the concert. Side note: I got to carry some of Needtobreathe’s guitars, which was pretty sweet. I also got a gnarly cut on my hand from one of their speakers, and I still have a scar there. But hey, because of DNA, part of me is with Needtobreathe forever. Anyway, getting to be up close working with the artists and their crew is a great experience. It’s something not that many people get to do.
- You help students and faculty express their musical talents
Not only does UCS put on the big concerts, but they also do some smaller events in the GC every now and then. There’s “Open Mic Night,” where any student can sing a song, read spoken word, and do other cool hipster stuff like that. UCS sets everything up and makes it feel like a coffee shop with white Christmas lights, candles, and… you guessed it… coffee. UCS also put on “Lip Sync Battles” which is hilarious. People can get very creative when it comes to that. One of my personal favorites is “The Profs.” Every two years, some of the professors get together to form a band and play a little concert. It’s so good, and it’s cool to see the talents of the faculty outside their areas of study. UCS does all kinds of musical things, and the variety of events ensures there is something for everyone!
- You get to be a part of a fantastic community
The members of UCS are great. We’re like a little family and always have so much fun regardless of whether it’s setting up for a big concert or just having a meeting in the lobby of a dorm. You build your creativity skills because you’re around creative people, you learn how to work together as a team, and you get lots of laughs even while working.
What can I say? UCS is fantastic, especially for those who really enjoy music. I do want to point out that there are other organizations on campus too that do different things. Every single one of these organizations is great, and certain ones are better fits for certain people. But because there are multiple different kinds, you’re bound to find something that fits you well. Don’t go through college without joining one of these organizations. If you’re not in one, come try out UCS, you won’t regret it!