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

Last First Day of Classes

For all of us at JMU, today and yesterday was the first day of classes for the semester.  However, for some of us at UPB (myself included), it was the last day of the first day of classes…EVER!  Being a senior has finally sunk in with the realization that this is my last semester, and last set of classes.   You might think, “Lucky you!”  No more new books.  No more bad professors.  No more getting lost trying to find a new classroom.  But honestly, I’m scared for the real world!

Ever since I was a little kid, I looked forward to this first day: the feeling of building anticipation, the shopping trip to buy school supplies, getting new clothes, a new schedule, a new routine, and new friends to meet.  Now, come August, I won’t know what to do.  Everyone will be getting back to JMU and getting ready for a new semester and another “First Day”.  But I will be off working somewhere, wishing I could be back at JMU.

Regardless, I can’t turn back the clock and now will never have another “first day” again.  But knowing this semester is my last, I plan on making it the best!  Spending time with my best friends, going to all the UPB events I can, laying out on the Quad in the spring, and yeah even going to classes, I will make sure to make the most of my last semester at Madison!

~Mitch Ramey, Director of Public Relations

Interview With Michael Ian Black

Last Thursday night, comedian Michael Ian Black performed for a packed crowd in Wilson Hall.  The night was filled with hilarious jokes, awkward moments, and uproaring laughter.  Before the night began, I sat down with Michael Ian Black for a little one-on-one and discussed his stand-up and acting careers, his advice for college students, and even his quest to be the next Angelina and Brad!

UPB: Which do you like more, stand-up shows or acting?

MIB: Both mediums are fun to do.  I prefer stand-up for the most part because you get the immediate response back from the audience.

UPB: What about your recent book?  How does that fit in?

MIB: Writing a book is more fun than TV too because it’s just you.  No one can tell you what is right or wrong when it’s your own thoughts. Versus a TV show, people will they you they love you, then tell you you’re doing everything wrong, then you change it to make them happy, then they don’t like your show and cancel it!

UPB: Do you have any show’s coming up?

MIB: Actually yes.  Currently, we’re shooting a pilot for E!.  The show is called “The Black List” and is a combination of stand-up and a talk show of sorts.  I hope it get’s greenlighted.

UPB: Switching topics, do you prefer doing college shows vs. other dates?

MIB: I do college shows for the credit only.  3 credits for every 4 shows.  I’m working hard for a degree.

UPB: And what will you do with this special degree?

MIB: Work at Starbucks.  What else is a college degree good for.  (laughs)

UPB: What advice do you have for us college students?

MIB: Well…I don’t know. Just don’t worry about grades.  Everyone is so focused on grades and they really don’t matter.  Not once has someone asked to see my diploma.  I don’t even have a diploma, so I guess that works out well (laughs).  Just barely pass.  Actually, don’t even.  I didn’t pass and you can see how wildly uber successful I am!  I’m kidding- work hard and it will pay off in the end.

UPB: Ok.  Switching topics.  What is one thing on your bucket list?

MIB: (thinks…)  I really want to adopt.  From some country.  Like Namibia.

UPB: So you want to be the next Angelina and Brad and adopt babies from foreign countries?

MIB: Who said I wanted to adopt a baby?  I want to adopt an adult.  A wealthy Namibian adult.  Yup, that’s what I want to do.

UPB: Ok then!  Good luck!  So last question.  What are you and your kids going to be for Halloween?

MIB: Actually, when you’re an actor, the last thing you want to do is dress up as something else on your days off.  So I never dress up for Halloween.  But my kids are.  My son is being the Grim Reaper, and my daughter is being a Cowgirl.  I told them they should both just be Grim Cowgirls but  they didn’t agree.

UPB: Awesome, good luck with it!  Have a great show tonight.

MIB: Thank you.

~Mitch Ramey, Public Relations Director

Q&A with Casey Cavanagh

Last Friday, Casey Cavanagh and his band rocked the Wilson Hall stage when they opened for Cartel.  Afterwards, I had a Q&A with them to talk about their expereince, their band, and what it’s like to be both students and in a band:

UPB: How did you get involved with opening for Cartel?
Casey: It’s been a personal goal of the band to have the opportunity to open for a big UPB show. Ever since freshman year, it was something I have dreamed about doing. Everything just seemed to work out perfectly this time around. We were in the right place at the right time as a band and were honored to have an opportunity to open for a band like Cartel.

UPB: What was it like to open for them?
Casey: Speaking on behalf of the band, we had a BLAST opening for Cartel. Their genre of music really brings out some fun, energetic fans. We are a band that thrives off of audience interaction and energy and having people attentively listening and enjoying what we played was very humbling. We honestly were not expecting such a kind reaction, but when we stepped onstage, we got a round of applause and throughout the show, the crowd was so nice to us. I couldn’t stop smiling. We just had a great time up there. One of my favorite moments was when we covered the Band’s “The Weight.” It is a classic song that means a lot to the band but I was a little worried it would be the wrong type of show to play that song. I was wrong — by the end of the song, people were singing along with us. “Teenage Dream” was a last minute decision when we realized we had a few more minutes to play on stage. We figured since the crowd was so energetic throughout our own originals, they would react well to Teenage Dream. John sung the song while the rest of us hopped around stage. He is the next Katy Perry I think.
UPB: How do you like playing in Wilson?
Casey: I played an acoustic show without the rest of the band once in Wilson. It was a lot different because there wasn’t a pit. Having people right ON the stage made a huge difference in how we interacted with the crowd. Since they were looking straight up at us, it was easy to get people laughing and smiling and having fun with us. The acoustics in Wilson are fantastic as well. We owe the show’s success to the members of UPB and the wonderful crew that did our sound at Southerd Audio. They were so kind to us and really did an amazing job on the sound.

UPB: Did you listen to Cartel in the past?
Casey: I was the only member in the band that was a true fan of Cartel. In high school, I listened to Chroma on a regular basis. The whole experience was really surreal. When I first started writing music, that was a band that I looked to for inspiration. To open for them some years later was a big honor. They even started with my favorite song! –Lucky St.  After the show, we all stuck around to hear them and were blown away with how professional they were and how great everything sounded.

UPB: Is it difficult being a student and in a band?
Casey: We are all heavily involved with our majors, organizations as well as jobs and internships. Juggling all of that on top of a band is certainly a big challenge. It gets tiring and stressful at times, but once we step on stage, all of that goes away and we remember why we do what we do. Time management may be the greatest lessons that we have learned while being in a band during college.

UPB: Who are your music idols/ mentors?
Casey: Each one of us brings different influences to the table. That’s what makes us such a dynamic group. We all take from each of our influences and submerse them into our own sound that we’ve created. We each decided our top two influences. Keep in mind that these are just TWO of many for each of us. Casey: John Mayer and Tom Petty  John: Barenaked Ladies and Jimmy Eat World  Jeff: Elvis Costello and The Who  Sam: Ryan Adams and the Damnwells

UPB: What genre would you classify yourself in?
Casey: Rock and Roll with an Alt-Country flair and pop sensibilities.

UPB: What are your top hits/ favorite songs to play?
Casey: We are currently recording an EP that will debut this November. We are really excited about those tracks that we’ve recorded so far… “Coming Home” is currently on our Facebook and Myspace pages. “The Becoming” is another tune that will be on the new record. Sam, our drummer, wrote the song and sings it on the record as well. The EP is being recorded and produced by our own, John Giardinere. He is a jack of all trades. He not only plays great guitar in the band, he records, produces and engineers all of the songs on our new album. We’re lucky to have him in the band.

UPB:  Any upcoming shows?
Casey: After this weekend, we will have just played the Crozet Music Festival. This coming Thursday, we will be playing live at WXJM. That show can be streamed (starting at 8pm-10pm) at . We also have a gig at the Blue Nile on October 14. We will be playing two sets. One set will be original Casey Cavanagh Band material and the second will be all 90’s hits. It will be a very exciting show.


Casey Cavanagh Band
Casey Cavanagh: Vocals, Guitar
John Giardinere: Guitar, Backing Vocals
Sam Gillett: Drums, Vocals
Jeff Pober: Bass, Backing Vocals

The Wilson Concert Series!

UPB is proud to announce our newest fall-semester concert series in Wilson Hall Auditorium featuring pop-rock artists Cartel, hip-hop sensation B.o.B., and pop singer Sara Bareilles!

At 8pm on Friday, September 24, the Wilson Concert Series will make its premiere with Cartel.  The band has toured the world over, from Tokyo to Toronto to Brisbane and Bristol, has had over 36 million MySpace plays, as well having their own MTV mini-series, Band in a Bubble, which chronicled the recording of their second album.  Cartel has also amassed coverage in Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, USA Today, and the New York Times.

The concert series will continue all semester long with B.o.B. performing on October 28th, and Sara Bareilles warming us up on December 2nd.

Keep checking back for more behind-the-scenes looks at how we plan the shows!  But for now, enjoy Cartel’s video for “Honestly.”

The Sun-Day Forcast: 8/29/10

Welcome Back JMU!  And welcome to campus Class of 2014!

Everyone here in UPB hopes you had an amazing and relaxing summer!   However, we are looking forward to an even better semester ahead!  This Fall, we are bringing many exciting programs your way:  from comedians and motivational speakers to blockbuster movies and concert series, this semester’s events are going to be better than ever!  That being said, here’s a look at whats happening on the JMU Campus this week:

 Crazy Commons

Welcome “Back to School with Jimmy Madison” this Tuesday from 11 AM to 2 PM in the Commons.   This is the first Crazy Commons of Fall 2010!  Enjoy free food, gifts, and sneak peeks of upcoming events for the fall semester.  And make sure you don’t miss the announcement of our Fall Concert Series!




Accents Tour 2010

The Accents Tour 2010 is a uniquely designed music series showcasing rising European and Australian artists on the verge of international success!  Performing at Festival Drum Thursday September 2nd at 8 pm is Via Tania, Freddie Stevenson, and JMU’s own Trinity Edralin.


Funny Freakin Friday

Mike E Winfield is one of today’s fastest rising comedy stars.  He has been featured on shows like Showtime’s Comedians Without Borders, and Last Comic Standing on NBC. His story-telling comic style and cutting jokes about his own “big ass teeth,” easily makes him the funniest comedian alive (self-proclaimed of course).  Former Breeze humor-columnist, Michael Larrick will open the show followed by Mike E Winfield!  Come out and …catch a laugh in TDU on September 3rd at 8 PM!  And don’t forget…it’s FREE!
This Week At Grafton
Movies play every week Wednesday – Saturday at 7:00 and 9:30!
7:00Date Night
Steve Carell and Tina Fey are “a match made in comedy heaven” (Ben Lyons, E!) in this uproarious adventure about an ordinary couple in the right place…on the wrong night. Phil and Claire Foster are a sensible, suburban husband and wife slogging through their daily lives and marriage. But a case of mistaken identity sets off a n outrageous chain of events involving small-time thieves, big-city mobsters, corrupt cops and a crazed cabbie, as the Fosters’ “date night” turns into a wild ride they’ll never forget!  (20th Century Fox)
9:30 – Killers
 A vacationing woman meets her ideal man, leading to a swift marriage. Back at home, however, their idyllic life is upset when they discover their neighbors could be assassins who have been contracted to kill the couple.  (Lionsgate)
Have a great week JMU!