There’s No Place Like Concert

To me, there’s nothing like a live performance. From musicians and bands to comedians and speakers, being in the presence of such talent brings energy unlike any other.  Summer has always been prime-time for concert-goers, such as myself. Vans annual Warped Tour is on the road and this year, the beloved Blink- 182 is back before their new album is hopefully, finally released in the fall. Along with several great country tours and rock and metal festivals, come the increasingly-popular small venue gigs.

   I recently went to see a friend’s band play at Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, NJ. Though a popular location for performers of various genres, the night I was there it was a host to local pop-punk bands. Mercer Avenue, a five-piece group from Monmouth County, NJ, and dear friends of mine, rocked the stage with the likes of Carpet Ride, Someday Never, and The Youth Ahead. Each band had the crowd participating between clapping and snapping and competing for free t-shirts.  An especially popular song was Carpet Ride’s cover of Wannabe by the Spice Girls. Ofcourse, the night wouldn’t be complete without my friends bouncing around on stage with the threat of smacking each other in the head with their instruments. The picture to the right is of Mercer Avenue bassist, Joe Zorzi, finally captured on camera! He’s notorious for being constantly in motion. Now that’s dedication.

With that said, JMU has seen a lot of talent come across the stages of Convo and Wilson, each time bringing that inevitable energy and passion to the crowds that only true artists can bring. I hope everyone got a chance to participate in UPB’s survey to see who you wanted to come to campus! You all had the opportunity to vote for Convo and Wilson artists as well as some folks to swing by TDU for Spotlight Series, so now it’s just a waiting game to see if your favorites made the cut! While you wait, check out Mercer Avenue and some of the other bands I had the pleasure of seeing last week. 😉

~Kate Shamlian, Spirit & Traditions Campus and Community Outreach Chair

A Professional Start to Summer

Since leaving JMU in May, I have been actively re-vamping the Student Government Association public relations plan to include more social media updates and re-created the blog.  While the blog is still in the early stages of development, I’m really excited to see where it goes with input from all the exec, staff and students.
On June 6th, I started a marketing internship with Time Warner Cable Corporate offices in Charlotte and so far I’m having a blast.  I get my own cubicle, security badge and everything :). The internship is more technologically grounded than I expected, but I’m still really excited to learn about the other side of the process!
Even though my summer is very busy, I cannot wait to return to JMU and get into UPB. I can’t wait to see many of your lovely faces at our events next Fall!
~Kelly Johnson
            Spotlight Sounds Outreach Chair

Anyone else ready for Harry Potter?

            A week after classes let out, I was on my way down to Florida to visit my brother and my sister-in-law. They live 20 minutes outside of Orlando, so naturally we spent all 5 days there was spent taking a boat tour of Amity, visiting Haunted Mansions, becoming “Masters of the High Seas”, and experiencing the magic of Hogsmeade. I had never been to Universal Studios and I hadn’t been to Disney World since I was 4 years old, so I had everything to discover.


There,  I narrowly escaped Jaws in Amity (where it’s always the 4th of July… even in May), ran away from a cursed Egyptian tomb on The Mummy, met Frank the pug from the Men in Black movies, and E.T. and I are now on a first-name-basis. I spent day one at Seuss Landing with the Cat in the Hat, witnessed a battle royale between Poseidon and his arch- enemy on the Lost Continent, got green on The Hulk roller coaster, and toured Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, butterbeer in hand, at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It certainly put me in the spirit for the next movie coming out this summer. Let me get a comment from everyone who is pumped about seeing Harry Potter too!

-Kate Shamlian

Spirit & Traditions Outreach Chair

An American Summer After a Spanish Spring

Four months abroad could not have gone faster! I arrived in Barcelona,
Spain on January 6 and within in a blink of an eye, it was April 30 and I
was heading back to the States.

Life abroad was better than I expected! I had always learned so much
about European history and culture, but to actually see it and experience
it firsthand was truly an incredible opportunity. Though the Catalan
people (Barcelona is in the Catalan region of Spain) are not known to
be the friendliest people, I felt so comfortable living in Barcelona as if I
was not even a foreigner. I immediately immersed myself in the culture
as much as possible, everything from eating as much tapas as possible
to even becoming a diehard FC Barcelona fan! My Spanish improved a
great deal and my city-sense reached a different level! I was fortunate
enough to make many weekend trips to other countries- my favorites being
Paris, London, and Amsterdam. I met so many different types of people
from all over the world. I truly learned so much about myself and what I
am capable of (I know, I know, it's a total cliche!) I learned more in four
months abroad than I could have ever learned in a classroom. Spending a
semester abroad and forcing myself out of my comfort zone was the best
thing I have ever done.

I have one piece of advice- go abroad, travel, meet people that you never
even knew existed in places you've never heard of... I promise, it will
change your life!
- Rachel Skolnick, Center Stage, Campus and Community Outreach Chair

Have Some Input: Take the Survey!

Have you ever thought about what concert 18,000 people would enjoy seeing?

Well we have, in fact we have been working diligently to come up with some possibilities for great concerts. BUT, to make them the best they can be, WE NEED YOUR HELP! I’m personally on team Goo Goo Dolls

Besides the GooGoo Dolls, there are many amazing artists on the survey and it is more interactive than ever! I remember taking the survey last year and wondering who on Earth these people were, what they sang, were they any good? I found myself clicking willy-nilly, “They have a cool band name, I’ll put a check there!”

This year, there are tons of videos, giving you a great taste of what the artist, or comedian, is all about! Speaking of comedians, I know i recognized one face Rob Riggle, the cop from the Hangover… HILARIOUS!

Those were just my personal choices after looking at the survey. You guys should all definitely have a look because  its not my opinion that counts– It’s yours! So follow the link below and help up to make the best choice possible for the JMU campus.

Natalie Hamlin, PR Director








A Thrilling Start to Summer

So begins my summer. I somehow passed through exams with a degree of ease and have been enjoying my return home to California. Here I plan to expand my professionalism through an internship in Los Angeles (exciting I know).  But i can get so serious without having a little fun first. Upon hopping off my LAX plane, I headed to Disneyland (where else?!) to embrace my inner child. Well I experienced my first summer breeze on the Tower of Terror.

For those of you that don’t know, the ride is designed as if you are riding in a maintenance elevator that breaks and drops you to the ground. While most enjoy the ride, it actually terrorized me. In the photo below, I am the one in white grabbing the passenger next to me.

Though this was a great experience and a thrilling way to begin my break, I think I will be spending the rest of my summer on the ground going to my internship and taking a couple online classes. Though a miss my JMU home, I think being away has made me appreciate it even more. I already can’t wait to return in the Fall and jump back into UPB. I wonder what some of the other UPBers are doing this summer…

 – Natalie Hamlin, Public Relations Director