I have been a part of this amazing organization for about 3 and half years now, so I’ve made a lot of memories. With that being said I guess my greatest UPB memory has to be my first UPB memory. I was hired in February, 2008 as Finance Director of the University Program Board. As a freshman I lived a life of leisure eating, playing sports, and watching way too much Malcolm in the Middle with the suitemates (I can pretty much sing the theme song on command).
I knew I wanted to do something to keep me busy and find my niche at JMU. I thought for weeks about applying for an Exec position and had some confidence going into the interview but not much, especially when I walked into a conference room that is filled with five people on either side of the table. After awkwardly shaking all of their hands I sat down in the hot seat for my interview. Once it was over I finally was able to take a deep breath, and realized, “how many baseball references and sports puns did I just use in that interview?” If you guessed more than ten you’d probably be right.
After a week I got the call, which of course I missed. Then I called back to only leave a message. This went on for about another week (I kid you not). The coordinator for UPB finally got a hold of me on my drive back up to Northern Virginia for Spring Break. I calmly as possible answered the phone, made a corny joke, and as cool as a cucumber I accepted the job. Ever since my college career has revolved around UPB, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I have made some great friends, learned a heck of a lot, and have memories like this one that I will treasure forever.
Be prepared for the unexpected. As VP of Marketing and Communication I oversee a lot of different marketing related tasks. One of those tasks is promotion meet and greets with the artist of the event. Weeks of planning go into the meet and greet. First, we have to deal with talent management and our middle agent to get approval. Next comes figuring out the right way to give out the passes so we can hopefully increase ticket sales. Then we create the logistics of how the meet and greet will go at the event.
But after all that planning something always seems to change and keep me on my toes. Whether it’s a room change for B.o.B., Michael Ian Black having an open meet and greet that 250 students want pictures and autographs, or my personal favorite Corey Smith changing the time of the meet and greet from before the show to after (and telling me a story when one meet and greet winner bit him). After all the planning and all the changes I still enjoy what I do, and if you can plan as well as problem solve so can you.
Over Thanksgiving break, I went to go see the new movie 127 Hours about the incredible story of Aron Ralston who had his arm trapped under a boulder while canyoneering in Utah. After being alone for 127 hours, he came to the decision to cut off his own arm with a dull pen knife to survive. The film made me think about what would I do in that situation? Could I cut off my own arm? Would I even be canyoneering to begin with?
To answer my first question yes I would have James Franco play me in the film version of my life. Wait that wasn’t the first question… but to answer that, it would be no I would not be canyoneering to begin with. I have a fear of heights and I have a fear of climbing alone. To answer the next question I believe I have the will to live to cut off my own arm, but I would definitely have to keep my eyes closed while I did it. Now for the serious question, what would I do in that situation? I would think of my family, my friends, my past, and my future. I hope these things would give me the strength to do what is necessary to stay alive. And in this time of year of finals and holidays I hope you all have the drive and strength to make the rest of this semester a success and won’t ever go canyoneering alone.
What do Broadway and Zach Hamby have in common? Absolutely nothing. What do Broadway and the White House have in common? A television special airing on PBS and WETA in October.
So outside of movies and sports, I am filling my time this summer with an internship at WETA, the Washington area’s PBS station. And one of their television series is, In Performance at the White House where the President celebrates music and education (aka the president is too busy to leave his house so why watch television when he can have his own concert in his living room!). So sadly I missed the Paul McCartney show while participating in Club Maymester. My consolation prize was working as a production assistant for A Celebration of Broadway starring: Nathan Lane, Elaine Stritch (Alec Baldwin’s mom from 30 Rock), Idina Menzel (Elphaba from Wicked), Marvin Hamlisch, Audra McDonald, and the stars of Hairspray among others. Now let me tell you I know nothing about Broadway, but my mom kept saying she would kill to meet Marvin Hamlisch and my sister said the same thing about Idina Menzel. Therefore after sleeping with one eye open I was off to Washington and the White House.
Now if you are reading this post you have most likely been to one of UPB’s Convo shows and if you had not realized a lot goes into making one of those shows. This White House show was like a Convo show on speed. And a few memorable moments included being a stand-in for ten hours. I got to play the fake drummers while Idina and Marvin rehearsed (yea we’re on a first name basis now).
I was a human sign directing traffic to dinner and happened to run into Nathan Lane and the whole cast just hanging out waiting for the bus to arrive. I stood on the roof of the White House breaking down tents and sound equipment at midnight while the staff told us to be quiet because the Obama kids were sleeping. I ate free catered food sitting next to the famous Broadway director, but I was too focused on my food to notice.
So all in all, I learned more about Broadway then I care to divulge. But it was an amazing experience that I’ll remember forever and I shall pass on an exaggerated version to my children and grandchildren. Soon I will be going back to JMU to start my senior year and be UPB’s VP of Marketing and Communication. If this experience has taught me anything is that the real world is imminent, and if I can’t get anything with this degree of mine I know I have the right posture and determination to be a stand-in for a television show.
~Zach Hamby, Vice President of Marketing and Communication
Over winter break I went to see Up in the Air with my dad. Now, I consider myself a pretty big film guy, so I felt I had to see what all the buzz was about with this movie. We went to our local art house movie theater on a Wednesday afternoon. Why a Wednesday afternoon you ask? Well my father and I have a genetic trait in common, we’re “frugal” with our money (“cheap” has a bad connotation). So we sat in the theater surrounded by senior citizens…. because naturally Wednesdays are senior citizen discount days. So we sat down to watch a movie about a man who makes his living traveling across the nation to different workplaces and conducting employee layoffs for bosses too cowardly to do it themselves. While this movie isn’t one of the happiest movies around, it does deal with a topic that millions of people around the world are dealing with on a daily basis.
Since childhood my dad has instilled a tough work ethic in me because of his upbringing on a farm with eight brothers and sisters. Since I was eleven I’ve always had a job ranging from umpiring baseball games to mowing lawns and even to working in various offices. At school I’ve become involved with UPB. Working with the organization for the last two years has been an unbelievable experience and I’ve found that there really is something for everyone – whether that is event planning, marketing, management, music industry, graphic design, comedians, educational speakers, finance, or just building relationships and making friends. Currently UPB has applications available for Vice President Positions and PIT Crew. VP applications which include the positions of VP of Programming, Marketing, and Membership Development are due by January 25th while PIT Crew Applications are due February 1st. Check out the UPB website to read the position descriptions and look at the application online.
If you want to get hired, not fired, from a great student run organization fill out an application and drop it off in Taylor 234.
Hello my name is Zach and I think I’m funny, not hilarious but funny. Someone who I do think is hilarious is Aziz Ansari. The first time I witnessed his comic genius I was procrastinating from doing my homework and decided on watching a late night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live! (not my favorite but a close second to Conan). I then saw him in Observe and Report when UPB brought the movie for one of its advance screenings last spring. He played a man named Saddamn who worked at the mall. Seth Rogen’s character Ronnie and Saddamn had the funniest scene in the whole movie with the best reference to Chik-fil-A ever. And if you hadn’t already guessed it Ronnie accuses Saddamn of trying to blow up the the fast food chain. Saddamn screams “Why would I blow up the Chik-fil-A , I f@!**ing love Chik-fil-A!”
After that performance and our joint love for fried chicken, my relationship with Aziz took the next step. I began awaiting the third directorial effort of Judd Apatow, Funny People. A movie filled with star performances and cameos but the role I was excited for the most was Aziz playing Raaaaaaaandy with eight a’s. He plays an annoying and “Dane Cook” like stand-up comedian. Raaaaaaaandy also employs a djay on stage to really emphasize his hilarious jokes. What sealed the deal for me was a mockumentary on Raaaaaaaandy on Will Ferrell’s Funnyordie.com site which I found while searching for something that would give me uncontrollable laughter (p.s. I found it).
Now some may consider the above paragraphs slightly stalkerish. I say that it’s completely normal to imdb someone a few times a week, watch youtube clips while at work couple hours a day, and occasionally send him pieces of mail that may or may not include spiral notebooks filled with jokes and headshots of yours truly scented with Old Spice. Well anyways I digress Aziz Ansari is a rising comedian whose been on popular television shows and movies and I’m happy to present him to the JMU students on September 25th in Memorial Hall.