Kelly McKew in 60 Seconds

Hello JMU!

I’m Kelly, and I’m happy to say I’ll be your UPB Film Director.  No, I won’t be directing movies (although, if I did, they would be awesome and someone should pay me to do it!), but I’ll be helping make sure movie events on campus run smoothly. If you’ve never heard of me before, you’re probably wondering what kind of girl I am (and if you aren’t, well, you know how to skim).  Here’s me:

  • I’m a senior SMAD major with a minor in Political Communication. I’ve been working this summer as both an intern in the Public Relations department at a local community college as well as in a restaurant as a waitress.
  • I love movies.  I consistently spout off movie quotes, expecting people to know them already. I once answered a question in 12th grade English by quoting Tyler Durden from Fight Club.
  • I love TV.  I’m eagerly awaiting the return of Mad Men to my TV this Sunday!
  • Tina Fey is my hero.
  • I love books.
  • I have a voracious appetite for storytelling, in any form. And by any, I mean any.
  • I own video games, comics, novels, nonfiction, historical biography, CDs, DVDs of all varieties: drama, comedy, sci-fi, romance, oscar winning, indie, animated, etc. I do have one rule though: I want quality. If it’s not good, why bother? 
  • My current obsessions this summer are Battlestar Galactica and Stieg Larsson’s Milenium trilogy, both are excellent! (I’m also rereading Harry Potter for the 8-billionth time this summer, to prep for Deathly Hallows, Pt 1). 
  • My friends are awesome, and have become some of the most important people running around my life.

I hope this has been informative… if not, I hope it’s been amusing. Because that’s what life is all about.


Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy

My summers have themes.

Summer of Freshman year’s theme: the pool.

I was a lifeguard for 4 years. Sunshine, swim lessons, whistle twirling, and diving boards filled the days.

Summer of Sophomore year’s theme: the music industry.

 That summer I worked as a Booking Agent intern at Live Nation in DC. I spent the summer running around Nissan Pavilion learning the ins and outs of promoting and producing shows at Northern VA’s largest venue, which is relevant because of my minor and what I ultimately would like to do in life.

Summer of Junior year’s theme: español

I’m pursuing a minor in Spanish (as well as Music Industry), and for the past 6 weeks my home was Salamanca, Spain. Each weekend had a different destination: Portugal, Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela, Madrid, Sevilla, Cordoba, Grenada, and Mediva. Nothing I have done thus far has compared to that experience. Living and studying independently with my JMU companions brought me to levels of understanding about other cultures and languages and their different dialects. This summer opened my eyes to the rest of the world and I can’t wait to see what else life has to show me.

Upcoming this year I will back to Center Stage for my 4th and final year. With the help of my stellar committee, we will spend the next year planning concerts that will excite the student body. Currently we are submitting offers to artists we want to entertain our stage in the Convocation Center and Wilson Auditorium…get excited- this year is going to be great!


Elyse’s Hot Summer

The best word to describe my summer so far would probably be “hot.” In my hometown of Falls Church, VA, days heat up to searing temperatures, sometimes even before the haze has burned off the day.  Luckily, the music class that I teach is sheltered within the haven of the air-conditioned temple.  My job is the greatest job I’ve ever had because it combines my two passions in life: music and teaching.  I work with pre-school through 7th graders, but I love the younger kids the most simply because they say the most adorable things.  For example, when asked what one child wanted to be when he grew up, he simply wrote, “I want to be what I want to be.” Surprisingly insightful for a preschooler, eh?

Apart from my job, the summer has been full of concerts, finger-lickin’ food, friends, and a whole lot of D.C. culture.  Some of the best concerts I’ve been to this summer include The Swell Season, a new local band named Deep River, and an all-girls Led Zeppelin tribute band called Lez Zeppelin.  It was one of the best shows I have ever seen and proved that girls can rock just as hard as Jimmy Page!  Foodwise, I’ve been cooking up a storm.   A bunch of friends come over and we cook up a feast- corn, grilled vegetables, fish, steak, broiled asparagus, and chocolate cake that could melt Betty Crocker’s heart.   Yup, it’s that good.

I’ve also been taking advantage of my close proximity to Washington, DC.  Last week I went to a midnight showing of a brand-new video game musical called “Super Claudio Bros.,” which is based on Super Mario.  It was creative, funny, and sweet…  D.C. also has some great venues for watching art films, including “The Kids are All Right,” which is an excellent film about making mistakes and then living with them. 

 I’d say it’s been a successful summer so far.  Looking forward to JMU starting in less than a month (wow!!!), and I’m excited to see how the rest of my summer will play out.  Much love!

~Elyse (Director of Spotlight Sounds)


It’s hard to believe that Independence Day, the fourth of July, has already passed.  This means we are all halfway through summer.  For some of us this means half way done with our internships or study abroad programs.  However, not only am I halfway finished with my summer, I am halfway done with college…

Property of University.Unions on FlickrIt’s scary to think I’ll be a junior in the fall!  I’m sure many seniors and recent alumni are thinking, “at least you still have two more years.”  You all are completely right.  But as many of my friends and fellow Dukes have shared- time flies.  I can vividly remember Junior year of high school, and here I am again a Junior, but this time at college.  Although I am sad to say summer is halfway over and I am halfway complete with my undergrad career, I also like to look on the bright side as what is to come.  More memories and great times from friends to football games to UPB events; the future awaits!  Although I am halfway done, I still have halfway to go!

-Drew Midgette

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
— Theodore Roosevelt

How We Choose JMU’s Concerts

Hey JMU!  I’m Carrie Martin, the Coordinator of UPB.  During the summer, I work to get things prepared for when you get back in August.  Part of this responsibility includes working with the Center Stage committee to prepare the fall concert survey.  This summer, almost 6,000 of you took the survey to give us your input on whom to bring!  This organization has the responsibility to represent ALL student interests in programming choices, and this huge response on surveys definitely helps to make those decisions easier.  

I’ve noticed, however, that there are a lot of questions about how we make the survey and use the results.  Hopefully this blog post can clear some things up.  

  1. The artists who end up on the survey must meet a few qualifications.  First, they need to be within our price range.  Second, they have to be touring.  We can’t call them at home and ask them to come out just for us.  Third, they have to agree to tour college campuses, and some artists just won’t do it anymore 😦
  2. After we get the results of the survey we think about a lot of things.  Which genre is the most popular?  For every person who says, “If you pick another rap/hip hop artist to come to JMU for the Fall concert, I might consider getting a lobotomy” (actual quote), there is another person who says “no country” or “I’m sick of rock”.  Also, whom can we still afford now that a month has gone by and prices have changed (sometimes drastically)?  Are they available on the few dates that the Convo Center is also available?  There are very few artists that meet all of these qualifications.
  3. Part of our purpose is to bring fun things for you to do all year.  Sometimes I wish we could go all in and spend all the money on a huge artist, but we aren’t allowed to.  And if we could, what would you do for the rest of year?  Plus, I probably wouldn’t have a job anymore!
  4. I’m a fan of some underground bands too, and wish that everyone else shared that love.  However, we have to pick an artist who is going to sell at least 2,500 tickets just to make some of our money back (we never make a profit, and don’t try to).  

Finally, I wanted to give some feedback on some of the survey suggestions we have received:

  • “Dave Matthews Band”, “Lady Gaga”, “Dane Cook”, “Taylor Swift” and others are WAY out of our price range.  These artists typically won’t play college dates either.  Sorry!
  • “Outdoor concert PLEASE!” Due to the outdoor sound policy, we are limited on the times we can hold an outdoor concert.  Since you can’t charge for tickets to an outdoor concert we couldn’t afford a huge artist.  However, we can definitely think of smaller acts for a fun, free outdoor show (and hope for no rain!)
  • “You should offer more floor seats! You had plenty of room left at the Wale Concert!”  We wish we could.  However, we are limited by fire safety guidelines to only 544 tickets.
  • “More Jersey Shore cast” I’m assuming you attended Snooki, and I’m glad you liked it!  But I think we’ll avoid that kind of controversy this year 🙂
  • “The 7th Harry Potter movie at Grafton before it comes out in theatres.”  I WISH.  Wouldn’t it be great if the international premiere was in the ‘burg?  Haha…
  • Finally, “Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Tupac, Janis Joplin, GREMLINS ON THE WINGS OF LOVE.”  Funny!

 There are a TON of great suggestions that we definitely keep in mind.  THANK YOU for such creative ideas – it keeps my job really exciting!  As you continue to think of more, please let us know.  You can always email new event ideas to, become our fan on Facebook and write on our wall, and tweet at us on Twitter!  Keep your eyes open for the fall concert announcement over the next couple months – I promise to try to get someone great!


Sweet Summertime in Delaware

Hey JMU!  My name is Melissa and I’m the Director of UPB’s Spirit & Traditions committee for this year.  I’ve been spending my summer back home in Delaware, in a small-town, close to UD, actually.  Just like Harrisonburg, it’s a college town, so the summers are a little dead, but I can’t complain.  My oldest brother is getting married in a few weeks, and I’m so excited because this is my first wedding as a bridesmaid!

Aside from wedding details, I’ve been working (of course, who isn’t?!)  I usually feel like I do nothing but work through my summer vacations, but this summer has been a taste of something new.  I’ve been working for my dad in his sign shop and learning a lot of things that I never imagined I would take interest in.  Working in a family business is a new experience for me, but very rewarding.  While learning the daily routine of the store, I’ve also been dabbling in the marketing side of things.  I’ll admit that marketing is not my favorite part to be involved in with a business, but I am picking up on some strategies and things that I can totally see coming in handy with UPB and marketing our events…which by the way are quickly approaching and going to be AMAZING!

As much as I love being home for the summer, I am SO excited about heading back to JMU.  And while I am on the edge of my seat for COB 300 to begin 😉  I am really looking forward to seeing events implemented and new plans rolling for UPB.  For me personally with S&T-I am trying to take some crafty and innovative angles with Late Night Breakfasts and possibly add some new twists to Funny Freakin’ Fridays!  I encourage all of the JMU community to keep an eye out for the awesome events that UPB is bringing your way…you don’t want to miss out!

Keep on keepin’ on everybody!


Donate to the National Wildlife Federation

Read Stephen’s post about the oil spill?  Not sure what you can do about it?  Want to help?

The National Wildlife Federation is doing all they can to help safeguard and clean up the wildlife devastated by this catastrophe.  Learn more here:

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