The End of the Beginning

Bittersweet. That is the perfect graduation word – although the g-word is banned from my apartment. What’s really the kicker is that it doesn’t just end my time at JMU, but also with the best organization I’ve been a part of in my college years.

Here it is, plain and simple. I love UPB. I have grown with this organization, first as a committee member and then as an executive council member. During my time on the board I have met some of the most memorable people I have come across at this university and I have left with some pretty wonderful best friends.

My favorite part of this experience has been the people. Without them it would not have been the same experience. This job is hard, that’s an understatement, and sometimes you have to stretch to reach your goals. One thing I knew all along was that no matter how far I stretched, my team would never let me fall over. We’ve lugged coolers full of water, been the sole supporters and groupies of our favorite band, carpooled, vented about our stresses, and just plain been there for each other. I have depended on them time and time again and for that, I cannot thank them enough.

It’s the end of this chapter, that’s for sure, but what will never escape me are the meaningful moments I’ve spent with some of the best. I know that I’ve learned so much from them this year, but not all of it has been directly related to event planning. This is why I love UPB. These are the good times. I’m holding on to this until I have to leave, but only if I’m hand-in-hand with my best friends.

UPBlove.

~Amy Remmer, Director of Special Events

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Get To Know… Director of Special Events

21 committee members. 14 fellow Exec members. 18,000+ students. As one of the five Program Directors with UPB, it’s our responsibility to make each of these populations come together.

In a typical week, my job is to facilitate a one-hour committee meeting where brainstorming, planning, and decision-making for the upcoming events are the main goals. The rest of the week is spent coordinating office hours for the 21-committee members so that not only does the necessary work get done, but also each member’s personal and professional development is at work. Everything from researching possible events to contacting agent or other schools for details to making marketing banners is accomplished in a week.

In the fall semester, Special Events planned and executed six events. Among which were Kenya Safari Acrobats, Michael Ian Black, and Cupcake Wars. All committees have different focuses but the thing I like the most about my job is that we don’t really have a limited focus. Special Events is by far the most ambiguous committee because we do anything that isn’t covered by the other committees.

If creativity, planning, and working with a larger group of people sparks your interest, then Director of Special Events is the position for you!

~Amy Remmer, Director of Special Events

The City That Never Sleeps

From Virginia to Connecticut by car takes one day.  Followed by a MetroNorth train the next, and you’re in a new world.  Although I’ve been to New York City more times than I can count, it always has something new to offer.  Emerging from the underground tracks of Grand Central Station, we trudged through the streets with our bags to our mid-town destination. Fifth Avenue dripping in lights, Sixth Avenue littered with vendors, and Seventh Avenue spotted with street goers. So much to take in and such little time! Navigating the city grid, we weaved in and out of an explosion of people at every corner, barely breathing in the smell of trash, gasoline, and countless other invisibles. It was then that I realized how country I’ve become!

It’s a kick to think back on all the times I visited the city with my family. Every time I would proclaim my need to live in an apartment by Central Park. Well, there I was, an apartment a block from the park, and all I wanted was to get out!  Funny how the things you want change as you grow.  Manhattan is definitely not for everyone. After four days of city life, we packed our bags and crawled back underground at the corner of 42nd and Lexington. There, I settled into my train car and wished my way back to the fresh countryside air. This is where I will remain, with only occasional visits to the crazed havoc that is the City.

~Amy Remmer, Director of Special Events

A Few New vu’s

As summer quickly draws to a close, I have realized that this season has shone in a three-fold theme that all started with my summer reading debut, Catch-22.  If you’ve read anything by Joseph Heller you know he has a grandiose vocabulary, which is an understatement.  So naturally, I picked up some new terms that will find their place in the many papers I’ll be writing this year…
 
Heard of déjà vu? Yes. Experienced it? Probably.
Jamais vu? Not so much.
Presque vu? …What?
And so begins the story of Summer 2010…
 
One night I was having dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house with a few of their neighbors. One neighbor shared a story of his hand-me-down ride, dating back to his college years.  A typical drive – start it up, back it out, down the street, all four wheels fall off… happens to everyone, yes?  Well, two nights later I have an elusive dream of me having to abandon my car on a road and hoof it the rest of my journey.  An interesting thing to dream.  All in good fun, of course.  I didn’t recall this dream until one week later.  I was driving to work, slowing down for a corner, when my car suddenly halts. ‘I don’t remember seeing a boulder in the road…?’ No, no boulder.  But my front driver’s side wheel was sideways…fantastic.  Not to mention smoky.  Well, after the tow-truck hauled off, I hoofed it to work.  Aren’t dreams funny that way?  Déjà vu (or was it a semi-premonition?).
 
With all four wheels re-attached, I was back at work.  Summer jobs can be an odd experience.  At the pizza shop I work at, it seems that every time I come home from JMU, a whole new staff is employed.  The job doesn’t change, but the people are different.  It feels familiar, yet it’s a whole new experience at the same time; which is the meaning of Jamais vu, “never seen”.
 
In addition to the pizza shop, I’ve been keeping up with UPB commitments.  I’ve brainstormed an exciting spread of Special Events – most for free – for students to enjoy.  With each new event I feel that I’m constantly on the brink of the next big idea.  While the events planned thus far are fantastic, I still feel there’s more up my sleeve that just hasn’t been revealed yet.  I will wait for those uncovered ideas to surface: Presque vu, “almost seen”.
 
With my summer now captured under this enlightenment from Joseph Heller, I hope you keep your sights on attending our wonderful programs this fall.  I promise to keep digging out great ideas and you continue to check the website for our upcoming events.  Keep your eyes peeled for fliers and freebies from UPB – see you all in a couple weeks!
 
~Amy Remmer (Director of Special Events)

The 60/40 Ratio At Its Finest

Next source of stress and anxiety: Valentine’s Day. Ladies, relax, he’ll ask you. Fellas, the pressure is on. You may have someone in mind, but you don’t know exactly where to go from there.

Well, aren’t you in luck?! Here we have some pointers on unique things to do around JMU’s beautiful campus. Day or night, we have scoped out some of the finest spots that suffice as date-material without emptying your pockets.

When the sun goes down…

    First up is a classic: some chow. Downtown is a great place to go, filled with Harrisonburg gems such as Dave’s, Clementine’s, and Ham’s. Now I know it’s no D-Hall but it should do the trick. These places all have great atmosphere and are reasonably priced!
    Come to campus and hit up Grafton to see what movies are playing! After dinner, you’ll probably have time to catch a 9pm showing. Only $2.50! $3 total if you want popcorn! Who says you have to spend big bucks on a date?

Some daytime digs…

    Take a trip to the Dayton Farmer’s Market. Make a meal together! This is a great stop for picking up locally grown food. Not only can you cook, you’re concerned about the environment and sustainability as well! There are also local vendors selling unique gift items, toys, and jewelry!

    JMU has its very own beautoretum, the Arb. Saturday afternoons in the Arb aren’t as cheesy as they sound. If it’s sunny one day, go for it! They have two little parking lots so you can drive yourself, your date, and a picnic basket over to nature’s best and use the picnic tables by the pond. Weeping Willow and waterfall included!
    After that walk in the Arb, you can head to Greenberries. They have a great selection and comfy chairs where you can sit and chat. When it gets a little warmer, they even have outdoor seating! This is a fantastic way to spend the late afternoon hours warming up and calming down, and your date is sure to love it!

Now that you have a reservoir of great date spots in the Burg, day and night, get out there and find your date! You’ve still got some time for Valentine’s Day, where UPB is providing the knock-out punch: Sex Rules is taking place on Friday, February 12th at 8pm in Memorial Auditorium. See you ladies and gents there!

– Amy

Recollections of My First Semester with UPB

As a new member of UPB’s Special Events Committee, I have discovered a smorgasbord of greatness. Thus far, from planning our events to the meeting the people involved, I have had a blast. I must wonder, where was I two years ago? I’m a little bummed I got started so late into my college career with this organization, but never fear, my junior standing allows for more time to immerse myself into this pool of cool.

Amy RemmerI wasn’t sure what to expect upon becoming part of the UPB community. I had heard of the events before, but had not really thought twice about them (except the Late Night Breakfasts….those are great!) With this being my first semester on the job, I have had the chance to experience all the UPB events, and I’ve got to say, it’s been incredible.

With such high quality events, one must consider the people involved. They must be great and hard working, right? Not only are they dedicated to bringing the best events to campus, but they are also really funny! I didn’t think an event like the Ghost Hunter could be so much fun, but these people have me in stitches! I’ll admit that I am easily amused. For example, I was making a banner the other day forTo Write Love On Her Arms UPB’s blog, and you better believe I thought my stick figures were hilarious. Not only do I think everyone else is hysterical, I think I’m a hoot too (doesn’t say much for my standard of funny, but it makes everyone else feel good about themselves.)

I’m having a fantastic time working with these people and they are making everything so much fun. An event that I am really looking forward to is tonight’s awareness speaker, Jamie Tworkowski, who is coming to campus to speak about his non-profit organization, To Write Love On Her Arms. I hope I will see you all there, seeking a way to help the people you know and love who are suffering with depression and addiction. Come to Festival Ballroom tonight, November 16th at 8 PM for this free, empowering event. It’s going to be truly amazing.

– Amy

National To Write Love On Her Arms Day

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“Depression, addiction, self-injury, suicide. It is likely that, if not you, then someone you know suffers from at least one of these issues. Fortunately, there is help. On November 16, 2009 UPB is bringing Jamie Tworkowksi, the creator of To Write Love On Her Arms. TWLOHA is a non-profit organization that aims to provide hope and recovery for people in need of help. Showing love is about the best thing you can do for someone who is suffering. Also, by letting people know that they are loved and they are not alone, you can help mitigate these issues. Love is the movement.” Amy RemmerTWLOHA

National To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) Day is November 13th. In honor of this UPB will actually be writing LOVE on people’s arms with markers in the commons on Friday from 10-11 and from 1-2. Basically you get to support a cause and be part of a bigger picture while looking totally COOL at the same time!! Its a win-win situation so be there!

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❤ Jamie