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.

Get To Know…Public Relations Director

As the Public Relations Director for the University Program Board, my days are never boring.  My main duties as the PR director are vast.  I act as the official “voice” of UPB whenever dealing with the press, media, and any other outside organizations or businesses.  This can be in the form of press releases, interviews, or answering any questions they might have in relation to our events.  I’m also a member of the marketing team, working with the Creative Director, VP of Marketing, and the Marketing Chairs to coordinate all advertising efforts of UPB and to increase our brand recognition.   In addition to the marketing chairs, I also oversee the Campus Outreach Chairs.  As a team, we reach out to various on and off campus organizations and businesses that relate to our events, as well as coordinate the Grafton Stovall slide and commercial advertisement sales.

One of the most fun aspects of my job is being in charge of all UPB’s social media.  Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or this blog, I manage it all.  Who else is lucky enough to HAVE to tweet and work on Facebook updating statuses all day!  It’s my job to update JMU students on all of our events, and get them to come!  I also get to offer a behind the scenes look into what UPB does through this blog.  It’s a great way to help bring our organization closer to everyone at JMU.

If you love being social, whether it’s dealing with press and media, or being in charge of social media, this job is perfect for you!

~Mitch Ramey, Public Relation Director

Get To Know…Finance Director

As Finance Director it is my duty to oversee all fiscal operations of UPB.  This may sound very intimidating, but it is definitely a job that any major can do, if one has organizational skills and is good at math.  I’m a history major and I have found this job possible!

A large portion of my job is working with UPB’s budget.  I have the opportunity to allocate the organization’s funds between our five committees and other expenditures.  I also make sure all request for funds forms are turned in on time as well as make sure each committee is using their individual budget appropriately.  Although my job may seem like a lot of number crunching and paperwork, I actually get to work with others quite often.  I have the opportunity to meet weekly with our adviser, the UPB President, as well as the Finance Chairs.  I love serving as a resource within the organization.  This role has allowed me to gain a better picture of the operations at JMU, the mission of UPB, and meet many new people.

~Drew Midgette, Finance Director

Get To Know…Executive Assistant

It has been an honor to serve as the Executive Assistant for the University Program Board during the 2010- 2011 school year.  The Executive Assistant position, not to be confused with a runner for coffee orders or a paper filer, is a position that has helped me to grow as a leader as well as be able to be creative and flexible in my duties.

I am responsible for typical office tasks such as taking minutes at executive meetings, compiling information for a weekly and annual report, ordering office supplies, and keeping the office orderly, etc.  My creative juices start flowing when I have the opportunity to liven up the office with monthly bulletin board changes, posters with UPB related information and creating a scrapbook for the school year. I also have the pleasure in being an advisor to a group of our chairs by having bi-weekly or monthly meetings with them to just chat about how things are going in their position.

Now not anyone can hold this position. Someone with a lot of patience, organization, and confidence is the best fit; characteristics that I did not necessarily have when I started the position but can safely say I have now. Though a lot of my work is behind the scene and I am not directly involved in the event planning process, I still have a voice in what should and should not happen at a event or what worked and did not work. Not being a program director has not prevented me from getting the most out of this experience and when I graduate in May I will surely take the skills and experiences I gained with me into the real world!

~Katelyn Diehl, Executive Assistant

Get To Know…Director of Center Stage

This year, JMU experienced something different. Instead of one concert in the fall there were three. So much more goes into this decision than the average student may realize. That is where my job comes into play. As Center Stage Director I work with our middle agent to find out availabilities and prices of artists while simultaneously surveying the students. The survey is so important because we truly look into JMU’s votes to decide who we can bring. This spring, I worked with the Center Stage committee going back and forth over choices on who to bring for this semester. After deliberation about an artist’s draw on campus, their availability,  their prices, and how that works with our budget, we can finally present a bid to the artist.

With our fingers crossed we wait for them to accept so we can bring to market the event to campus. As the director for Center Stage, I organize the ticket sales dates, order and design the tickets, and plan listening parties and day of show preparations. There are not many places on campus that a JMU student can receive hands on experience producing and promoting a concert.

Throughout the year I get to watch the process of choosing the artist to actually renting the Convo center, setting up the stage and lighting to finally watching the student body filter in excited for the show. This entire process has taught me so much about the music industry and how to promote a large scale concert. After this year JMU will have had 4 large scale concerts on its campus. Whether you went to Cartel, BoB, Sara Bareilles or you are going to Wiz Khalifa you can walk in realizing that this entire show came about through students.

~Angela Marino, Director of Center Stage

Get To Know…Director of Spirit & Traditions

There is nothing dull about being the Director of Spirit & Traditions for the University Program Board!  I have the challenging and rewarding task of coordinating Funny Freakin’ Fridays and Late Night Breakfasts for every month of the school year, with the help of a committee of 25 members.

One of the biggest challenges I face is how to sustain these events that take place every single month.  I have to find ways to make each Late Night Breakfast theme and the activities at the event unique and distinct from the one before.  Thinking outside the box can be difficult, but it’s great to have a team of people to work with to help generate ideas and new perspectives.  This year we’ve had some very original themes for Late Night Breakfast, such as “Board Game” and March’s upcoming, “All Around the World.”

Once the committee has come to a consensus about theme we want, it is my job to work out the logistics; what activities, crafts, and food would compliment this theme?  What companies can provide such entertainment?  Will it fit into my budget?  A lot of things have to be decided and considered to bring an event together and make it a success, but once I have accomplished those things, it’s so rewarding to see the final execution of the event and all the students that come out to it and have a blast.  How great to see the hard work you put in pay-off, and your ideas come to life-all for the student body to enjoy!


~Melissa Janocha, Director of Spirit & Traditions

Get To Know…Director of Spotlight Sounds

I was quaking in my Converse’s the first day I had to run an event for Spotlight Sounds. The list of stuff that I had to accomplish seemed overwhelming.  I had to hire a van, get all the materials transported from Taylor to Festival, coordinate a staff of events, oversee load-in and load-out, and make sure the entirety of my event went smoothly. Even though I had the support and enthusiasm of the whole Exec board behind me, I was still apprehensive. But as soon as the first musician came on and people started listening, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Putting on a successful show is an amazing feeling, but even more amazing is seeing people having a good time at an event that you have been an integral part of organizing. That was September, when Spotlight Sounds had about 8 members. Now we have 21!

Spotlight has accomplished some incredible things this year, one of which was mixing up our genres to program to a diversity of musical tastes on campus. We’ve brought the likes of pop-punk Hotspur to gypsy jazz trio Ameranouche, and even though it’s been hard work, I have absolutely loved every minute of it. Director of Spotlight Sounds is a position that requires many assets, but the most important asset is a love of music. My passion for music has carried me throughout this whole year. This passion is also something that unites Spotlight Sounds. Working with so many individuals who feel the same way about music that I do has been an incredible opportunity. When I was filling out contracts, contacting agents or coordinating sign-ups for events, I always had the end-game in mind. This position has also allowed me to build relationships with not only my committee members, but all the musicians I’ve worked with. Since I love meeting new people, this has been one of my favorite parts of the position. Spotlight Sounds has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done at JMU thus far, and I can’t wait to see where it’ll take me next!

~Elyse Krachman, Director of Spotlight Sounds