Behind the scenes of Spring Week

396879_528232193882519_1150970765_nBy Francesca Lewis
The circus is coming to Fitchburg State for Spring Week. This year, the Fitchburg Activities Board has planned many circus themed events, including mind readers, a hypnotist, acrobats and of course lots of food. But how are all these festivities planned out?
Chanel Gomez, President of FAB, said the club started planning last fall. “We got the theme down at the end of last semester,” she said, although next year they hope to start planning sooner.
To find acts, Gomez, along with a few other executive board members, went to the National Association for Campus Activities in Connecticut.
NACA hosts an event to showcase a variety of acts and talents within the region, and from there FAB can recruit performers for lower rates. “We get a free concert every other night,” Gomez said of the four-day conference.
FAB also uses other venues for booking clients. They often work with alumni in the area who can provide connections to food and entertainment, and have close relationships with local agents who can find resources within the area. “We also get a bunch of mail from people who want to come,” Gomez said, “and we like to book people we’ve already worked with because we know how they are and what they like.”
Of course, money is a factor. With a budget of $60,000, FAB students work hard to get the biggest bang for their buck.
Not only do they have to pay for performers and food for the events, they also have to factor in food for the performers, transportation, hotels, security, custodians and paid student volunteers to work the events. “We try to stay within budget,” said Gomez. “We have to make a choice between a really good rave and a subpar concert.”
“For the past two years we’ve stayed away from concerts,” Gomez said. FAB surveys students to see where they’re musical tastes consist of, but the results from this year’s wasn’t very helpful. “We got 3 percent favoring alternative music, 3 percent for country, and 3 percent for R&B,” Gomez said.
Because FAB can’t please everyone, concerts usually aren’t as widely attended as other events. “We can’t hold up to Wiz Khalifa,” Gomez said. “We got him a few years ago at a really good price because we got him right before he took off. Prices of everything are going up, and we can’t provide the type of concert people want. Today, Wiz is out of our price range.”
Instead, Gomez believes that students will enjoy the scheduled acts, and Fantazia is sure to impress, she hinted. “Hopefully the acts we chose will be well received because people like to see students being brought up on stage,” Gomez said.
In the past, students have liked hypnotists and mind readers that come to campus. “We brought someone in earlier this year that made someone dance like Beyonce,” Gomez said.
This year, FAB worked to make Spring Week accessible to commuters as well as residents. Gomez pointed out that we are a 50/50 school, and it’s important that events are accessible to everyone.
The student commuters within FAB were able to offer their advice when planning earlier events. “We asked commuters around campus what times worked best for them and what they would like to see, so we started doing one event at 3:30 and another at night,” Gomez said.
Organizing a week packed with activities is definitely a stressful task, but FAB wouldn’t be able to do it without their advisor Shane Franzen. “He’s our biggest support,” Gomez said. “Whenever we get stuck or need something he’s always there and always ready for anything we throw at him, and we throw a lot at him,” she said.
Almost all of FAB’s connections come from Franzen, because “he knows just about everything and everyone in the field,” Gomez said. Whenever FAB needs help, Franzen is there, and he knows just what to do.
“It’s really stressful and it’s an explosion of fun,” Gomez said. “I love being a part of the group planning Spring Week and making sure everything is all set and where it’s supposed to be,” she said. “Seeing it actually come together is my favorite part,” she said.
Last year, while FAB students were setting up for an event, Gomez took a break for dinner, and when she returned, she was in awe. “All the lights were on, everything was all set,” she said, “It looked real; we made these things happen and I was a part of doing this.”
Being president of the club, Gomez feels pressure to make sure the week runs smoothly and reflects well on FAB. “For the students I want them to get their money’s worth,” Gomez said. “We all pay an activities fee,” she pointed out, “and we want people to have fun when they’re there.”
FAB is sure that this year’s Spring Week will not disappoint, so be sure to check your emails for all of the events around campus, commuters and residents alike!