Event Support: the real men (and women) in black

Courtesy of suite101.com

The start of a new school year means the start of a seemingly endless amount of events on campus. From the annual Candlelight Ceremony to Party on the Quad, the activities fair and Yellowjacket Weekend, the campus is renewed with life after a long, quiet summer.

While few can deny that a large part of campus life depends on these diverse events, many of us simply arrive at them without a second thought as to how and who make them possible.

Who exactly is responsible for most of the behind the scenes nuts and bolts that contribute to the success of almost every event on campus? Meet Event Support.

They can be found dressed in their all-black attire, running sound and lights for all sorts of campus events. These are the folks that dedicate their time to making sure that everything runs smoothly for the entire University.

Comprised of three professional staff members, Event Support Manager Lynn Stork, Event Support Assistant Manager Katherine May, and Event Support Technician Paul Berretta, 30 hired student technicians, as well Reservation Coordinator, Saundra Peters, Event Support provides audio-visual services for a great majority of events that happen all over campus as well as other logistical planning such as table and chair set-up and staging.

The student technicians are trained to help in running sound and lights. Set-up, which starts days before the actual event, and tear-down all amount to a great number of working hours for the Event Support crew.

In addition to the time commitment, these technicians have to be good at what they do since they often only have about one rehearsal with a group before a show.

Lights and sound can often make or break a show, so Event Support has an important job to do behind the scenes.

“Almost any event that you attend on campus, whether it be the [Midnight] Ramblers’ show or the vendor sale around winter break, Event Support helped make it happen,” sophomore Event Support Student Supervisor Rachael O’Neill said. “The crew is friendly, helpful and encouraging, and they make going to work a fun thing to do. It is an ideal job for me, because I’m learning valuable skills that I can use post-college. Plus the scheduling is flexible, keeps me busy and I have a lot of fun doing it!”

But it’s not just the big events that Event Support handles. One of their jobs can simply be unlocking and locking a room for a meeting. We all have that one unfortunate professor, the one who simply hasn’t accepted technology for all of its uses. They may struggle in simply connecting a laptop to their projector, or get an age-old VHS tapes working. An Event Support student technician is available to help guide those professors who may be a little more than lost when it comes to technology.

While their main purpose is in technical and logistical support, Event Support still keeps a strong focus on customer service.

Communication with clients to figure out exactly what they desire is vital for Event Support to do their job to the best of their ability, as well as in making their clients happy.

“Just like all of the other student employment groups in Wilson Commons, technicians of all skill levels interact with clients nearly every time we work, and customer service skills are extremely important,” O’Neil explained.

The list of their involvement on campus  continues. Event Support runs the biggest events on campus, such as Meliora Weekend, Dandelion Day and Commencement, but they run the smaller ones as well, such as the Boarshead Dinner, Earth Day and Diversity Day.

It’s all of the seemingly little things that we take advantage of in attending these events that Event Support pays the most attention to. Every speaker system you see, pretty light show you admire, or chair you sit in at an event was placed there by a crew member of Event Support, who is probably a student just like you.

So if you ever see a member of the Event Support staff in their navy blue Wilson Commons polo shirts or black shirts labeled “Event Support,” give them a thank you wave (or hug if you’re brave) for all of the hard work they put in to making campus events run successfully. Without them, the campus wouldn’t be half as much fun.

Mariner is a member of the class of 2015.



You can contact Natsumi at nmariner@u.rochester.edu.

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