In the amount of time it took the University Program Council to plan the homecoming concert, you could have had a baby. The council’s biggest event of the year took nine months to plan. This year, rapper Yung Gravy will headline the event on Sept. 30. UPC Nebraska members are responsible for the setup and tear down of the stage, as well as the planning of the event.
Victoria Wehrman, president of UPC, has been involved in the programming council for four years and can attest to how long and thorough the event selection process is.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s really, really rewarding to get to do all that, so we’re super stoked to be back in person,” Wehrman said.
UPC works each semester to plan and budget for events that enrich the campus both educationally and on an entertainment basis.
According to Wehrman, proposed events go through an extensive vetting process to make sure they will appeal to students or inform them in some way.
“It takes about six weeks in total, so it’s not a small feat,” Wehrman said. “All our events are picked and scheduled and contracts are started usually six to nine months in advance.”
The council first begins the process by having each individual member select events or speakers they want to propose for the next semester.
“It starts with thinking about what you want to bring to campus, you know, like what events do we as council members think would make our student body better or more informed,” Wehrman said.
Sophomore UPC member Chanasei Ziemann has gone through two event selections and has learned what to look for in each event she proposes.
"Our goal is to bring diverse, educational and entertaining events to campus for students,” Ziemann said. “We try to provide programming that we think many students would enjoy and attend by seeing what's relevant and what worked well in the past."
After council members compile their ideas, the primary programmer, who is the member in charge of communication with speakers and their representatives, contacts agencies and gets a price point for each idea.
“That takes about two weeks, and [the primary programmer will] get prices on those. We’ll figure out the ones that are feasible and the ones that aren’t feasible,” Wehrman said. “After that, that’s when we move into event selection for the ones that are within our budget.”
Wehrman said the proposals are made into PowerPoint slides containing all necessary information, including what the event is, who is speaking, what the budget is and when the event will most likely occur. Individual entertainment, diversity and education committees view the proposals and reduce over 75 slides to 10 or 15.
The proposals are then narrowed down further and committees choose which events will happen. The events are then presented to the entire council, and the primary programmer begins the process of starting contracts with each speaker, according to Wehrman.
Once the committees decide the event is ready to be announced, the marketing chair creates graphics and posters to advertise the event. Wehrman noted that marketing largely falls on the members pushing the events on their personal social media accounts. She stressed the importance of each member proudly advertising the events they hold.
“If we’re not invested in our own events, then they won’t perform well, because they’re not being marketed at a capacity that they could be,” she said.
In addition to the homecoming concert, Wehrman is excited for students to be able to experience the events planned for this fall since many in-person events were missed out on last year. She feels strongly that there will be something for everyone in the coming months.
“I think we’ve got some pretty good structure, we’re hitting a lot of different demographics,” Wehrman said. “Definitely in our events coming up, I'm so excited to see the turnout for those in general.”
Ziemann shared her excitement about hosting such a large event, especially since it is her first time planning a big event with UPC.
“The concert is so exciting because it’s our biggest event of the year, but also because I think a lot of us have missed live music,” Ziemann said. “We are lucky to be able to host a large-scale artist and event like this.”