Inside Union Board: how the big acts come to Albion

With a position called “Vice President of Comedy,” you might think Christian Schubert’s job description entails sitting behind the President of Comedy during the State of the Union stand-up address. However, Schubert’s role actually involves directly interfacing with the big names that perform at Albion each year–including driving them from the airport himself if need be.

Schubert, Chesaning junior, is a member of the Albion College Union Board, a student-run organization responsible for bringing events and acts to campus. With some assistance from Campus Programs and Organizations staff, students interface with acts ranging from slam poets to singer-songwriters and nationally-known comedians.

Schubert says Union Board communicates with a number of agencies in order to secure talent.  Union Board also sends representatives to the National Association for Campus Activities [NACA] convention each year.  At NACA, representatives can stake out artists interested in performing at Albion by viewing performances and networking with agents.

In Union Board, students, not staff, are primarily responsible for getting the acts to Albion and making sure the performance goes smoothly.

“If the comedians are having traveling problems, they contact me,” Schubert said.  “I, my assistant or someone on Union Board will go pick them up and make sure everything is up to their standards.”

Jimmy Maier, Dearborn Heights junior, is president of Union Board. Maier says other student organizations often come to Union Board for assistance with equipment like lights or for volunteers.  These organizations reciprocate by volunteering for Union Board events.

Jennifer Schreer is the director for Campus Programs and Organizations [CPO], and is Union Board’s staff liaison.  Through her 15 years of professional involvement with running student activities, she’s gathered a trove of contacts to find talent.

“I was on programming board when I was in college, so some of these agents I’ve known for over 20 years,” Schreer said.

The big show each spring semester is Union Board’s largest event, and, according to Schreer, students begin to plan for it in August the year before.

To contact high-profile talent for the big show, Union Board interfaces with a middle agent who gets them in touch with the acts and negotiate contracts.

Schubert presented Seth Meyers at the 2012 big show, and he was heavily involved with the set-up for 2013’s Timeflies concert.

“The big show for a music group is enormous,” Schubert said.  “For Timeflies, we had to unload all the equipment, set up the stage, make sure we had all the safety precautions in place, set up the lights…every part of the stage had to be set up.”

Maier said he’s learned valuable skills from having to frequently interface with professionals.

“Event planning and all the logistics involved with it has been one of the things I’m most proud of learning during my time with Union Board,” Maier said.  “I’ve definitely become more comfortable with talking to agents and negotiating what we’re looking for with what they want.

Schubert says his involvement with Union Board has prepared him for a career in event planning

“The experience overall has helped me,” Schubert said.  “I got an an interview with Red Frog Events because of my experience with Union Board.”

 Schreer said any student can join Union Board, or suggest ideas for acts to bring to campus.

Union Board meetings are held every Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. in the Alumni Conference Room on the third floor of the Kellogg Center.

About Spencer White 57 Articles
Spencer White is a senior from Commerce, Michigan. He's dedicated to squeezing every last bit of journalism he can out of Albion College.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.