Bands + travel + shows + Hobo Day + art = UPC

Andrew Lafrance

Andrew Lafrance

Rocking concerts and performances, informative lectures and even off-campus trips are constantly happening at SDSU in an effort to combat everyday routine and spark up the social lives of Jackrabbits. But who are the busy bees behind the scenes trying to ensure that the shows and entertainment go on?

Right in front of Java City at The Union is the University Program Council, one of the largest student-run organizations on campus. UPC, as it is commonly known, is responsible for planning, organizing and promoting entertainment for students of all majors and walks of life.

UPC is divided into nine areas of interest, which are each run by a SDSU student coordinator. Other students then help out the coordinator in charge to make each planned event a reality.

The different areas of focus are: Arts, Community Service, Rec & Travel, Concerts, Showcase, Lectures, Special Events, Homecoming and Social Awareness. There is also a coordinator focused on providing graphic design in support of the other areas. A president and vice president oversee all UPC events.

“The atmosphere in the UPC office is always one of camaraderie,” said Catherine Bigbee, UPC adviser. “There is an attitude of cooperation that seems to encompass this organization.”

Bigbee said she thinks it is remarkable how responsibly and maturely the committee members handle themselves.

“It is a great training ground for the future careers these students will have,” Bigbee said.

The Special Events coordinator takes care of setting up the Welcome Back Bash, which occurs every fall at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. This year, free dinner, an outdoor showing of Star Trek and a performance by the band SafetySuit were the highlights of the event that welcomed the class of 2013.

Robin Bickel, the Special Events coordinator, said her position on the UPC committee allows her to grow in many ways.

“It gives me a lot of great opportunities in a lot of fields I enjoy,” Bickel said. “Being a part of this organization, you get to talk to many business owners, students and people on campus.”

Bickel is currently preparing for a breast cancer fundraiser. This year, she decided on a 5K (3.1-mile) run. This semester, she is also in charge of planning Who Wants to Be a Hundredaire, set for Dec. 4.

The UPC Rec & Travel coordinator, Tyler Husby, has planned two trips this fall. On Nov. 15, students have a chance to travel to Minnesota for a Vikings versus Lions football game. On Dec. 5, students looking to get some big-city holiday shopping done can hop on the bus to the Mall of America in the Twin Cities.

“Traveling from SDSU gives unique opportunities to experience things outside of the Brookings campus,” Husby said.

Husby is also organizing a laser tag event for October and an ice skating event for December.

Although UPC may sound like it is run by the 12 students hired to organize the events, other students are free to assist with almost any part of the work UPC does. The coordinators are always looking for help setting up events.

“Volunteering for Hobo Days this semester or the State-a-thon next spring can open the doors for future leadership positions,” Bigbee said. “Students who want to get involved on a variety of levels should stop in and ask about opportunities with those major events.”

UPC provides many opportunities for students to get involved with the social side of college. Students who would like experience in event planning or student affairs should try helping out with one or two of the UPC events this semester, Bigbee said.

Just this fall, there are chances to set up concerts, help out with SDSU’s Homecoming Week or meet comedian Bo Burnham.

In 2006, Burnham posted videos of himself singing songs that he had written on the Web site He quickly became recognized for his clever lyrics and has since begun traveling, playing sold-out shows on campuses across America.

Bigbee said that the UPC team is ecstatic to have a nationally recognized comedian coming to SDSU.

“We’re looking forward to sharing the excitement with the student body,” Bigbee said.

The event should be a good way to expose Burnham to students that may not have heard of him, as well as show that UPC can bring major events to campus, Bigbee said.

Though many events are held for entertainment purposes, UPC also has a coordinator in charge of giving back to the community.

If students enjoy donating their time or money to benefit others, they might consider signing up to run, walk or jog in the Breast Cancer 5K, raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network or participate in Share the Warmth, a month-long community service event that runs throughout October.

Whether students enjoy talent shows or game shows, serving the community or Homecoming Week, they can find a way to get involved on campus with UPC, Bigbee said. For more information, stop by the UPC office, in room 140 in The Union. Students can also attend one of the UPClose meetings, held bi-weekly in Rotunda F. The next meeting is Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.

“UPC strives to welcome the people who desire to volunteer,” Bigbee said. “It is through the volunteers that our events are able to be successes.”

#1.881393:4051151007.jpg:DSC_2542.jpg:Michael Preszler, University Program Council showcase coordinator, discusses upcoming events with Josh Vu at the UPC promotional table in The Union.:Andrew LaFrance