Spotlight Shows this Month are…

Three shows.  Three weeks.  Three experiences.  Spotlight is a unique committee within UPB bringing you up and coming talent, mostly for FREE, that you would have to pay to see in a club in downtown D.C.  Come out and see these amazing performances so you can say “I knew them when…”
February 7th: Lighthouse and the Whaler (TDU 7p)

February 17th: The Cool Aid Show feat. DJ Biao (Festival Ballroom, 9p, $3 tickets)

February 22nd: Iron Lion (TDU 7p)

For more information, please look at the UPB Tumblr! 

~Kelly Johnson

Get to Know… Spirit & Traditions Director

When I was first offered the position of Spirit and Traditions Director, I had no idea what the job entailed. As an outside hire, I imagined some sort of exaggerated University Program Board cheerleader with lots of personality and few responsibilities. However, there’s much more to the title than one might first believe.
For those unfamiliar with University Program Board, all general body members belong to one of five committees. Each of these committees is led by a program director. The Spirit and Traditions committee is responsible for two major series events. (Series events are programs that take place every month.) In our case, these are Late Night Breakfast and Funny Freakin’ Friday. Each a staple within the UPB community, these events have become a tradition in their own right. They are always free and always open to every member of our campus! In addition to these series events, S&T is responsible for programming that relates to special holidays and celebrations at JMU. These include Homecoming, Parent’s Weekend, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and many others!
As the director, I lead our committee in the brainstorming, preparations, and execution of such events. I’m helped by five indispensable chairs, cumulatively responsible for marketing, outreach, decorations, hospitality needs, and committee administration. To lead our group, I organize meetings, facilitate voting procedures, and set the agenda for each week. Behind the scenes, I’m responsible for contacting agents, managing our budget, writing contracts for our events, and seeing to many other smaller details. Throughout the week and during events, I’m a resource for committee members and general members of the JMU community.
This is a quick description of what has kept me busy this past year, but if you’d like to know more or meet in person don’t hesitate to contact me! My e-mail address is and I encourage everyone to apply to UPB!
~Megan Chandler, Director of Spirit & Traditions

Get Naked

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that Valentine’s Day is a “Hallmark holiday” created by chocolate, card and flower companies only to make money.  Maybe it is because I’ve never had that perfect Valentine’s date that movies portray.  Instead, you could compare my Valentine’s days to those of Liz Lemon (30 Rock anyone?!) in which there are many awkward moments and things never go as planned. But even through all these years of being single on Valentine’s Day, deep down I always wish the next year would be different.  Maybe one year I will get that perfect movie scene with a perfect boy, a delicious dinner and a memorable night.  It is that time of year again when I get my hopes up and dream about that perfect night.  I’m determined to have just ONE normal Valentine’s Day. With UPB’s Naked Dating event, this year is bound to be different.  If any of you are out there with me, come out to Grafton at 8:00 on January 24th to get some advice on love.  Naked Dating by Harlan Cohen will reveal a five-step approach to find love in college.  Don’t let the event name fool you though; everyone will be completely clothed! This hilarious mix of motivational speaking, audience participation and music is sure to give you a fun and entertaining night.  You know I will be there in the hopes that this Valentine’s Day will be different! So, come out to Naked Dating on January 24th at 8:00 in Grafton for FREE!  See you there!   -Cara Buchanan, Special Events

Get To Know…Vice President of Marketing

“You have four years, Aqeel. Make something of yourself.” That’s what I heard everyday on the phone from my mom freshman year. Coming to school was no big deal for me—I had been away from home plenty of times to not become home sick—but hearing those words made me more and more anxious every time I heard them.

There’s two ways of looking at the college; it can either be the best opportunity you’ll ever get, or the most overwhelming. For three years, it was the latter. I came in as a biology major, in the pre-med program, on the track to apply to medical school. That wasn’t what I wanted to do, though. I wanted to do something creative, like be a documentarian, an art director at an ad agency, a film editor, or an architect. Somehow, I had to change my life to be more congruent with what I was passionate about, not my parents’.


That’s when I found UPB. Applying to be the Vice President of Marketing was the best decision I made during my four years here. The leadership experience I was getting, the creativity that I was able to express, and the people I met in the process were more than anyone could ask for. I’ve changed my major and gotten overrides into classes that I love. For the first time, I’m living for myself. Although I’ll be graduating in May, I’m finally confident that my college experience has become the best opportunity to follow my dreams and be the person I want to be.

~Aqeel Akbar, Vice President of Marketing

UPB is Hiring!

I joined the University Program Board on a whim, after hearing about
it through the leadership development program Make Your Mark on
Madison. The spring semester of my freshman year, I applied and was
accepted for the executive board, not knowing what I was getting
myself into. As it turns out, it has been the hands down best decision
I have made in my JMU career. That was three years ago.

As a second-semester senior now, I have been looking back and
reflecting on my experience at JMU, while seizing the opportunities
that I have left before I graduate in May. It has been almost a year
since I was selected as the 2011-2012 University Board President. How
I got here…at this point, I’m not even sure. Last time I checked, I
was a freshman in Eagle Hall. But it’s time to select the next group
of leaders, and that is YOU. Some words of advice:

“Today is a most unusual day because we have never lived it before; we
will never live it again; it is the only day we have” – William Arthur

Now is the time to get involved! Don’t take for granted the little
time that you left here. Last night, the semi-annual Student Org Night
took place in the Festival ballroom, with representation from
hundereds of student organizations eager to make a difference on the
JMU campus and in your college experience. If you didn’t make it over
to the Festival ballroom yesterday, it’s not too late! Take the time
to reach out to a club that represents something you’re truly
passionate in, or even a club that you don’t know much about.

If you are interested in joining the University Program Board, I know
we would love to have you. Applications are out now and are available
on our website It’s never too late, or too early, to
create the college experience that you want and make a difference on
this campus.

~Emily Grochowski, President

Find the Golden Tickets!

There is a Golden Ticket Hunt going on around campus today! Be sure to find them and win a prize! While you’re at it, be sure to head to Willy Wonka Late Night Breakfast and Student Org Night tomorrow in Festival!

I remember my first Student Org Night (SON). Freshman year I ran around the UREC Turf writing my new @jmu.eduemail down on the lists for at least ten different clubs, only to later regret the flood of informational messages in my inbox. Who was I kidding, was I really going to learn how to bellydance? Anyways, though I finally got off of  the email list for the last club just last year, there was one organization that I did stick with. Bet you can guess what it was (Hint: its UPB). Now you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, and here it is. Student Org Night is the best way to learn about all JMU has to offer outside of academics. Though you may end up signing up for Bocci Ball or a dance team while having no previous experience, its the best way to figure out what you really do want to be involved in.

Even if you go and don’t find a club for you (highly unlikely), there’s a bonus this time around. While SON begins at 9 and ends at 11 in Festival, UPB will also be hosting our monthly Late Night Breakfast from 10 to 12 in Festival! How convenient! Even better? ITS WILLY WONKA THEMED. You know what that means, immense amounts of candy, games, activities, and chances to win. Come roll yourself around in a human bowling ball as if you were Violet being rolled away by Oompa Loompas or pin the gum behind her ear for a chance to win a prize! There will be several crafts, other games, and check it: cotton candy and pucker powder stations AND lollipop trees! ALL FOR FREE.
So make sure you come out to Festival on Thursday 1/19 from 9-11, first for Student Org Night hosted by Student Activities & Involvement then stick around for Willy Wonka Late Night Breakfast from 10-12. I can guarantee it’ll be sweet. Get it?
-Kate Shamlian, Spirit & Traditions Outreach Chair