Looking Back: The End is Near but the Hopes are High!

A short rant from an ol’ timer of UPB.

Greetings and Salutations! <(^_^)>

Yet another post from me, Erik Bowen. I just felt like writing a little tidbit about life and UPB and so here goes…

I came to JMU after the stress of all the high school craziness. I did the usual applications “wowers” being involved in community service, being an officer in a club, taking IB and AP classes in desperate hopes of college credit, and giving in to the whims of my parents to take extra math and science classes to give me that “extra edge”. With all the sleep depravation, living on a steady diet of caffeine, and neglecting much of a personal life I got into college woot woot!

Once I got here however, I fell into the rut that I know many others have felt as well…”I got into college. What is the next step?” Freshman year I continued to search for a purpose, I came into JMU as a Math Major (which I quickly changed during summer springboard). In the fall I was a Chemistry Major with a Pre-Med track and working as a biochem research assistant. Fun times. Sitting in the lab blankly starring at the apparatuses in front of me, I discovered that this wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I fell into sort of a slump after that and by the end of the spring semester I had burned many bridges, failed most of my classes, and ended up on academic probation. Wamp wamp right? <(>_<)>

It was around this time I entertained the idea of following my passion of food and cooking and going to culinary school. I had transfer forms printed off and ready to go along with my application to Johnson & Wales. I couldn’t quite commit to it though. I took a step back though and thought to myself…maybe I should give JMU another shot, I’ll give it one last semester to prove itself. That fall I returned to JMU with a more positive attitude. With my good friend Sondra, that second week of classes we braved the craziness of Student Org Night. There we found a table about this student organization that worked on bringing entertainment to campus, from that one Late Night Breakfast I attended the past Spring to the movies at Grafton (where I had seen Donnie Darko and Fight Club for the first time the past year). It was called UPB or the University Program Board. Sondra and I looked at each other and thought it sounded like fun and we planned to check it out the following week.

Nervously we sat with our Starbucks Green Tea Fraps in hand and waited for the meeting to start. The Film Director, Gwendolyn Brown came into the room and with a hop in her step and a voice bursting with a slightly psychotic cheerful excitement; I was instantly entranced. We played the “Movie Game” (a.k.a. “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon”) and at the end we signed up to work shifts at Grafton that week. Being new I hoped to meet as many people as possible and volunteered for a shift each night, Wed-Sat. Three years later, and now I am the one walking into the room with a bounce in my step and crazed enthusiasm in my voice. It has been an amazing year being UPB’s Director of Film. Sure, my parents think it looks great as a resume booster, but I see far beyond that: I have truly found my passions in life and have the encouragement to pursue them.

Now, I am finally graduating. It may have taken me 5 years, which isn’t exactly traditional or my original plan but whatever. I am an Art History Major with minors in Studio Art and Asian Studies (basically) and I couldn’t be happier! These years at JMU have been amazing, especially this last one.

With my spirit full of enthusiasm and my heart filled with optimism I embark off into the world. I’m not giving into the nervous energy that I see most days of upcoming graduates freaking out about he job market. I leave with the somewhat naïve hope that I am going to do something that I enjoy with my life and that will make a difference in the world. Whether I study more in the arts and become an art teacher, go to pastry school and become an entrepreneur, or pursue studies in student affairs, I do so with a smile and the knowledge that I know in my spirit that I can BE the Change!

Congratulations class of 2010! Go forth and do what you love!

-Erik <(^_^)>

The 7 Wonders of UPB Take Flight

Greetings and Salutations all!

Just in case we haven’t met yet, I’m Erik, this year’s Film Director. Woot! You may have seen me the past few years at the luxurious Grafton-Stovall Theater, my second home. I’m usually the one with the huge grin asking if you want a popcorn with your ticket. Still don’t know me? <(T_T)> <–(That is a crying Kirby.) Stop by Grafton sometime or the UPB office cause I love chatting about movies.

Anyways, I am writing you all on this glorious Tuesday to tell you all about my adventure from last weekend (Oct. 1st-4th) at NACA. What is NACA you say? I say its the National Association ofErik Bowen Campus Activities! This year’s theme was “Take Flight,” and basically it is a place for college programming boards to come together, learn, network, and check out the latest & greatest in novelties, musicians + speakers. Can I just say WOW!!! It was amazing! <(^_^)>

One of the greatest things at NACA was going to an educational session and meeting up with film representatives from other schools. It was so amazing to meet other eccentric folk like myself with a passion for movies and event planning. I had never really considered before how awesome JMU is with our film program, as we have showing Wednesday thru Sat just about every week of the semester. Other schools had somewhere between 3-5 a semester, some per year! We really are quite fortunate.

One of the other facets of NACA are the showcases. At these showcases (a total of about 12 hours) we check out the new talent from comedians to speakers to musicians. One of the most hilarious of the comedians was Michelle Buteau with her catchphrases of “spread that rumor” and “…from the waist down.”  You’ll probably agree with me that she is quite fabulous. The best though had to be the Mr. Belding’s Karaoke Jam Party when a group decided to sing All the Single Ladies and our very own Patrick Crosson went up on stage to give him a lesson in choreography. Even better is someone in the audience uploaded this gem to YouTube. How did we live before this website?


Our team name was the 7 Wonders of UPB!

Finally, the last element of NACA is the Campus Activities Market Place or CAMP for short. It was here that we had the opportunity to chat with the performers of the showcases and also talk with others. We also had a chance to check out the cool new novelties and attractions that we could bring to campus. Some things were quite bizarre such as a strongwomen who challenged me to a bottle cap bending contest (it was quite interesting) and later split an apple on her biceps and broke chopsticks with her butt. There was even a trivia tournament that we won for JMU woot!

Overall, it was an amazing experience. I can’t wait to implement some of these new ideas that I have stirring around in my head. Our beloved Grafton is going to get some exciting new events this year!

~Erik <(^_^)>