Get To Know…Lisa Lampanelli

Last week, “The Queen of Mean” graced Wilson Hall and JMU with her presence!  In conjunction with FIJI and their Autism Awareness philanthropy, UPB brought Lisa Lampanelli for a hysterical night of stand-up and comedy.  The audience did not stop laughing the entire time, as Lisa cracked jokes about her new husband, told behind the scenes stories from her roasts of Donald Trump and “The Hoff”, and discussed her hatred of f****** Mike “The Situation” from Jersey Shore.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Lisa backstage before the show and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I thought she was going to make fun of me from the second I walked in, but she was one of the nicest comedian I’ve met.  Ms. Lampanelli was so down to earth, relatable, and of course hysterical.  Our candid interview was definitely a preview of her show, which basically means I need to censor most of it, as some would view her material as offensive.  I found her comedy very funny, and her view behind it is words are not mean or offensive if there is not hatred behind it.  What she does is make fun of those she loves.  That being said, here’s what can be printed!

UPB: What brought you to JMU?

LL: My nephew goes to school here.  I’ll do anything for my nieces and nephews including a free show, cause usually I would cost way too much for you to afford (laughs). So I guess I have him to blame for not having a night off but what can I tell you, I’m a soft touch. I’m sensitive.

UPB: Do you have any personal connection to Autism?

LL: I actually use to be autistic myself… No I didn’t. I acutally did a joke about autistic kids at the Donald Trump roast and got a lot of flack about it.  But I only joke about the people I love, and after a show I always go to Twitter and promote what I joke about, whether it’s National Autism Awareness Day or whatever.  So I really do have a soft spot for austic and disabled people, and this was a great cause to do a show for.  It also makes me look better to the autistic community.

UPB: Do you have any other philanthropic activities going on?

LL: You know what, like I said earlier my goal is to become an ordained minister and marry homosexuals all across the country.  My mission is to make gay marriage 100% legal, but also we’re going to outlaw gay divorces because if you all want it, you have to deal with it!

UPB: So it this just a one time college stop, or a tour?

LL:  No, this is literally a one time thing.  Because usually they want me to censor myself but I won’t, so I just don’t bother with it too much. I don’t ever change my material up.

UPB: What do you think about Mike “The Situation”?

LL:  OMG that kid is horrible.  He got booed so loud Marlee Matlin could hear it.  And this is how delusional this kid is, he comes back to our chairs and said “that was pretty good right!”  I just say let him think what he wants because he’s just delusional.  Hopefully he goes away soon, but he seems to be like herpes and Cher, he just keeps coming back up.

UPB: How do you deal with hecklers?

LL:  Hardly anyone bothers because they know they’re not going to win.  But if someone is drunk and tries it, usually I can get everyone to yell him down.  But if I can’t and he’s being disruptive, I just get rid of them and kick them out.

UPB: Anything exciting coming up?

LL: Absolutely not.  This is the highlight of my life, right here. (laughs)  No, I’m actually writing a Broadway show right now based on my book.  I’m psyched to be doing something different that what’s expected right now, so it’s fun.


How to Survive Graduation When You’re Not Graduating

I have to admit, graduation this year is hitting me harder than ever before.  As I finish my junior year, I’m forced to say goodbye to two cousins and some of my closest friends.  Obviously, I’ve known this was coming.  I was happily able to ignore the inevitable though until January.  Since then, I’ve been implementing anti-dealing-with-graduation strategies that I feel may benefit those in a predicament similar to my own:

1. Establish rules for yourself and your graduating friends.  These are the ones I’ve found most helpful so far:

  • Ban the word “graduation”.  With the exception of the few times I’ve used it in this blog post, I have not said the G word since last semester.  I also banned my closest friends from using it as well.  It took some practice, but they’ve   gotten pretty good at it. (It goes without saying that any topics related to the G-word are banned as well.  For example: caps, gowns, future jobs, etc.)
  • Prohibit Vitamin C’s song “Graduation (Friends Forever)” from being played in your presence, also Green Day’s “Time of Your Life”.
    • (I’m providing the link only as a reference point, listen at your own risk.)

2. Warn your friends/family that if they plan on crying, they need to take a box of tissues to somewhere far away from you.  In my apartment, all criers are banned outside or to a room with a closed door.

3. Avoid Bucket-List activities with seniors or any of their “last times” at places on/around campus.  Stick to safe, non-sentimental activities like going to Dukes, the movies, Take the Pulse, or attending class.

4. Leave Harrisonburg before move-out day.  I think this rule is pretty self-explanatory.

5. Another rule that needs no explanation: Do not say good-bye to anyone, for any reason.

6. This is my favorite: Take advantage of the graduation celebrations, but just the celebrating parts.  If you hear any clinking glasses or see any water eyes, excuse yourself immediately and come back when the coast is absolutely clear.   Basically this means enjoy the free lunches and dinners at good restaurants, as well as the cookouts in the nice weather.

I hope that those of you in my situation find these strategies helpful in the weeks approaching this rough time for us.

As for you seniors…see you soon.

~Courtney Tubbs, VP of Membership Development

Dreams Really Can Come True

It’s strange. I don’t feel like just yesterday I was graduating high school as so many Seniors tend to claim. To me, college has not flown by at all.  As “G- Day” is quickly approaching, though I am anxious/ afraid/ worried about my future, I know that it is time for me to leave and start a new chapter in my life as I did four years ago when leaving high school. JMU has taught me a lot and helped my grow as a person and I am thankful for that, but it is now time to take what I have learned and apply it to being a “real person.”

I wouldn’t be the person I am today without JMU but I also wouldn’t be who I am without the University Program Board. I started as a committee member sophomore year and had the opportunity to serve on the Executive Board my Senior year. I can safely say ladies and gentlemen, my experiences with UPB have been what we call a life changer. One of my favorite memories from being on exec this past year was our most recent Convocation show featuring Wiz Khalifa. I had a blast being around my UPBers all day and being delirious with them into the wee hours of the morning. If you have never worked a Convo show you are missing out!  What I love and will miss about UPB is the people and their passion for what they are doing for the University and what a joy they are to be around.

My plans for the future? I am staying in Harrisonburg this summer to work and save money because I am packing my bags and heading to Florida to intern with Disney in late August. Words can not explain how I am excited I am to have this opportunity. I have been interested in doing the internship since my freshmen year, but wanted to graduate on time so I never applied for it. When I found out you could apply as a graduating senior I knew I would regret it if I didn’t apply. Where JMU and UPB has left off is where Disney will pick up in my journey of life. I am excited/ anxious/ scared of what is to come but as everything has at JMU, I know everything will work out in the end. With a bit of passion and determination, dreams really can come true.

~Katelyn Diehl, Executive Assistant

3 1/2 Years and Counting

I have been a part of this amazing organization for about 3 and half years now, so I’ve made a lot of memories. With that being said I guess my greatest UPB memory has to be my first UPB memory. I was hired in February, 2008 as Finance Director of the University Program Board. As a freshman I lived a life of leisure eating, playing sports, and watching way too much Malcolm in the Middle with the suitemates (I can pretty much sing the theme song on command).

I knew I wanted to do something to keep me busy and find my niche at JMU. I thought for weeks about applying for an Exec position and had some confidence going into the interview but not much, especially when I walked into a conference room that is filled with five people on either side of the table. After awkwardly shaking all of their hands I sat down in the hot seat for my interview. Once it was over I finally was able to take a deep breath, and realized, “how many baseball references and sports puns did I just use in that interview?” If you guessed more than ten you’d probably be right.

After a week I got the call, which of course I missed. Then I called back to only leave a message. This went on for about another week (I kid you not).  The coordinator for UPB finally got a hold of me on my drive back up to Northern Virginia for Spring Break. I calmly as possible answered the phone, made a corny joke, and as cool as a cucumber I accepted the job. Ever since my college career has revolved around UPB, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I have made some great friends, learned a heck of a lot, and have memories like this one that I will treasure forever.

~Zach Hamby, VP of Marketing

1 Month Left…

So, I’ve finally admitted to myself that I’m a senior. I’ve finally bought my cap and gown (although I am referring to them as my “dress robes” and the g-word is now codename “Yule Ball”). Even with these grown up accoutrements, I feel like a little girl wearing my older sister’s graduation gear. It feels like yesterday that she was graduating from this very place (even though it was 6 years ago…).

Currently, I only have 4 weeks left, but this year has definitely been filled with some of my favorite memories. Being film director has been a wild and crazy ride. I’ve met some absolutely bonkers people, and seen some really not wonderful movies (You Again, I’m looking at you). But I will never forget the people who I spent all those hours in Grafton with. I think that in an organization that remains so constant, it’s really the people in it who make each year so different and special. I’d love to think that I made UPB’s life a bit more interesting this year and added something that no one else could.
I’ve had numerous people reassure me that everything turns out ok in the end, but I think I just don’t want to see the end. Currently, almost everything in my life is in flux; things are changing from one moment to the next. One thing that I can rely on is that I will never forget this year.
~Kelly McKew, Director of Film

Get To Know…The Chinese Student Association

The Chinese Student Association (CSA) is a passionate organization that is committed to educating others, and works to spread awareness of Chinese culture throughout the JMU and Harrisonburg community.  Currently, CSA’s most prominent outreach effort has been its lion dance troupe.

Students and faculty passing by on campus or attending special events may have had a chance to witness performances by CSA’s Lion Dance troupe. The troupe has performed at various events including Through the Eyes of a Woman, Take A Look Day, Student Org. Night, and Late Night Breakfast.  They have also traveled to local elementary schools, and have conducted several hands-on workshops.  This year, CSA will be showcasing a Chinese Dragon Dance that the JMU and Harrisonburg community have never seen before.

Both the lion and the dragon dances are highly recognized in China, and are often performed at special celebrations and holidays. Although these performances have similar origins in warding off evil, there is a key difference between them.  This variation lies in how the lion or dragon is maneuvered.  The lion is controlled by two individuals that perform acrobatic and martial arts-like movements.  The dragon on the other hand, is controlled by a much larger group (CSA’s dragon is made up of 7 people) that relentlessly chase a “pearl” while creating wave-like movements throughout the dragon’s body.  Although these dances look different, the immense trust and teamwork necessary between the performers remains the same.

Don’t miss your chance to see the premiere of CSA’s dragon dance at their 4th Annual Culture Show!  The show will be in Wilson Hall on Saturday, April 9th at 7:00 PM. Doors open at 6:30 PM, and admission is FREE!  Seats fill up fast, so be sure to come early.  Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this unforgettable event!”

And It’s The Best Day Ever…

As I sit down to write this blog post, I can’t help but catch myself smiling from cheek to cheek. This Saturday’s past show, The Campus Consciousness Tour featuring Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, and Mansions on the Moon was a huge success, and for all of the lucky ones who were able to attend, it was an absolutely amazing show!

Luckily for UPB members, we got to see the majority of the show for free in exchange for our hard work putting on the event. Whether it was giving up our Friday afternoon to build the stage, or showing up on Saturday morning at 8:00 AM to load in sound and equipment, if it weren’t for all of UPB’s dedication, the show would not have been as successful as it was!

But for some of us, we got more of an insider’s perspective on what goes on behind the scenes of a convo show. Along with three of my fellow committee members, Jeff, Audrey, and Becca, we were given the opportunity to be runners for the show. Basically, a runner is given backstage access as well as keys to a JMU vehicle for the sole purpose of serving the artists with whatever they may need throughout their stay at JMU. When I first was told that I had been chosen as a runner, I couldn’t imagine how the day would pan out. For all you fellow Taylors out there, we all know that Wiz rolls deep with quite an eclectic entourage.

We showed up at 8:00 AM on Saturday at the Convocation Center, ready and willing to be of help with whatever the day threw at us. The first thing on the agenda was to run a few errands to Wal-Mart, Martin’s, etc. to pick up food, towels, and drinks. Once we had completed that, it was time to set up for the Reverb Event on the commons. I drove my super awesome 12 passenger JMU van over to their tour bus, where we loaded up the equipment. The Reverb crew was extremely nice and down to earth, except they made fun of my driving skills at first! They kept joking around that Harrisonburg probably wasn’t well known for their driving school programs. To justify my driving skills, those huge JMU vehicles are hard to get used to driving, AND I had to parallel park! After a few trips around town, however, I was a pro. 🙂

Once we unloaded the equipment, Audrey and I took two of the Reverb crew members to Starbucks to get them coffee.  On the way there, Elliot and Davis told us a little bit more about Reverb and what they’re all about. For those of you that didn’t get a chance to stop by on the commons, I strongly suggest you check out their website! (  They’re an awesome non-profit organization that is devoted to helping large tours “Go Green”. They also use these tours as an opportunity for outreach, as they often put on events that help people to learn how they can help out the environment and make a difference.  So far they’ve done 100 tours, which is definitely something to be proud of, and it’s great for the environment!

Around 3 PM, Jeff and I went to go pick up “Gangsta Will”, Wiz’s tour manager.  After checking out the venue and having a brief meeting with production, we took Will and Wiz’s merch guy back to the hotel to sort merchandise for the show. Once that was all complete, we all headed back to Convo to set up the merchandise tables.  Audrey and I then took “Light”, one of Wiz’s merch guys, to Wal-Mart so he could pick up a few things while we bought ice for Reverb and other miscellaneous items. After that, it was show-time!

Mansions on the Moon opened up the show, and the crowd was definitely ready for a good time. Once they played their set, Mac Miller took the stage and the crowd went wild! At 8:45, it was time to go pick up Wiz Khalifa and the rest of his crew at their hotel, as his set started at 9:20. Jeff and I grabbed the keys to the van and headed off on our adventure!

We showed up at the bus outside the hotel, and after about 10 minutes, Wiz emerged with his tour manager, the rest of Taylor Gang, as well as his fiancé Amber Rose and her two friends. They were all pumped for the show, and Wiz was definitely ready to rock the stage. He didn’t seem nervous at all, as he was rapping off the top of his head, while the rest of the passengers chimed in. He talked about how much he missed his hometown and how excited he was to have a day off in Pittsburgh next Tuesday to hang out with his friends, but most of all he was really excited to see his dog!

After we dropped him off, Wiz immediately took the stage and played an amazing set.  From “Roll Up” to “Black and Yellow”, Wiz put all of his effort into every song he performed, and his positive energy on stage was very contagious!  The entire Convocation Center was packed with students singing along and dancing to every song, which was an awesome sight to see. At the end of his set, it was time to get in the van and wait for Wiz and his entourage to get in so that we could escort him to the meet and greet on the other side of Convo. The presence of multiple security members and police officers caught the attention of concert-goers, and before I knew it there was a large number of students waiting to see Wiz. When he got into the van, the crowd erupted into a sea of screams, shouts, and “I LOVE YOU WIZ!”. I’d have to say that driving him to the other entrance of Convo was quite a nerve-racking experience, as there were students trying to get near the van EVERYWHERE! Thankfully the JMU police and ESI security were very helpful, and we got him into his dressing room safely.

After taking a few pictures with the lucky meet and greet winners, it was time to get Wiz and his crew back to the hotel safely, but first, they wanted one thing: ice cream! After picking them up some “Late Night” Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, our night was coming to a close. We dropped them off at the hotel, and  they thanked us for all of our hard work throughout the day, and we wished them luck with the rest of the tour. After cleaning up the dressing rooms at the Convocation Center, sadly our amazing day had come to an end.

It’s safe to say that this day was one of the best days of my life. I have worked all of the different positions for Convo shows in the past, but hands down being a runner has been my favorite position that I’ve worked! I love being of help to others, and everything that I did throughout the day was definitely worth it, because with our help all of the people affiliated with the tour felt at ease.  I’m graduating this May, and I never would have thought that I’d get the chance at such a great experience during my time here at JMU. I’d say that this year’s Spring Concert was the epitome of “winning”, and I’m so proud of UPB for all of their hard work!

~Amanda Corbelli, Center Stage Administrative Chair