A split within State Tech services balances responsibilities

Ellen Nelson

Ellen NelsonNews Editor

The behind-the-scenes assistance and technical services from SDSU’s State Tech has been divided to form a separate group of technical assistance for various events at the Performing Arts Center.

State Tech may be defined as a professional staging, video and audio support group for events held on campus and in the community. The split of State Tech to form the new support crew of the PAC occurred Oct. 8, said Mark Venhuizen, State Tech advisor.

“We’ve done some pretty big events,” said State Tech’s Student Manager, Aaron Stoneberger, referring to providing event services for Hillary Rodham-Clinton’s visit to South Dakota two years ago.

State Tech’s coverage of events has ranged across the state including Sioux Falls, Huron, Watertown and Brookings, he said.

The transfer and division of State Tech’s services to the PAC was a management decision where State Tech employees were asked to volunteer to make the switch over to the PAC Stoneberger said.

With the amount of increasing student activities, responsibilities of planning and coordinating between The Union and PAC, events became too much to handle.

“It was becoming too big of a work load for our student employees,” said Marysz Rames, vice president for student affairs. “Additionally, the PAC needed extra support with the amount of student activities.”

In the past, two separate crews were responsible for events of each separate facility. In an attempt to unify the efforts of planning and coordinating, the two crews were combined, Rames said. The decision to create a separate technical support crew specifically for the PAC was to return to the original organization of staff, she said.

“The transition has been going pretty smooth,” Venhuizen said. “But it was hard to say goodbye to those guys (State Tech employees) … but we still communicate.”

The majority of State Tech remains based out of The Union, consisting of a crew size of 26. At the PAC, there is a crew of six who were all past State Tech employees, Stoneberger said.

Stoneberger said that there are both pros and cons to the switch.

“It goes both ways… there’s now less paperwork on my end, but am missing out on PAC events,” Stoneberger said.

SDSU’s University Program Committee is familiar with the services and convenience that State Tech offered for the PAC from The Union.

“We developed a routine of who to talk to,” said Catherine Bigbee, UPC adviser. “With the switch of State Tech’s PAC services not based out of The Union, struggles might arise with the change. Through the transition of policies, we’ll experience some growing pains.”

Events hosted by UPC and held at the PAC with help from State Tech, were Miss Homelycoming, Cavorts, movie nights and Dancing with the Stars.

Bigbee said various other events in the Larson Concert Hall were also made possible on State Tech’s behalf.

In order to make events held at the PAC more organized and structured, a new faculty member was hired, Bigbee said.

Heather Costello joined SDSU staff early September as the new coordinator. She is an Iowa native with seven years of facility management experience and is now in charge of the coordination of events held at the PAC. Responsibilities of her position may be characterized by two part time jobs combined into one, she said.

“I basically wear two different hats,” Costello said.

Part of her job is to oversee and coordinate events held at the PAC, while the other part is working in the Provost office assisting with coordination and planning of upcoming university and presidential events, such as graduation.

Costello said after reviewing The Union’s schedule of events and impressive amount of programs that occurred on a day-to-day basis, it was not surprising that The Union relocated the service station of State Tech.

“From talking with the management at The Union, its staff is so busy already and with the recent expansion, management was just going to become more difficult,” Costello said.

Programming and planning of PAC events will go through a transition period, as The Union is no longer responsible for coordinating its events, said Jennifer Novotny, director of The Union.

“We’ve got some top notch students that will help out with the transition,” Novotny said. “The process for scheduling and planning events at the PAC will be similar to the current procedures The Union has for events, though now is coordinated through Costello and her staff.”

To plan events held at the PAC, clientele are now directed to call Heather Costello at (605) 688-5264.

#1.1731130:3573364060.png:State-Tech-BW-Aaron-Stoneberger1.png:The SDSU State Tech staff, which does professional staging and work behind the scenes for many campus events, has been divided into two seperate spheres in order to manage campus events. :Collegian Photo by Aaron Stoneberger