Spring is in the air, and Student Life At Montclair (SLAM) just celebrated the awakening of the season with their Spring Week. With finals just around the corner, who wouldn’t want to indulge in a week of fun events?
This year’s theme was West Coast Road Trip. Students had the chance to unleash their inner cowboy at the Rockin’ Rodeo, party with aliens at the Area 51 Silent Disco, grab a fruity drink at A Day in Paradise, live it up at the Friday Block Party, and lastly, end the semester with a bang at the Slammin’ Festival.
Anthony Zawrak, a junior theater studies and film and television major and SLAM’s on-campus event coordinator, described how Spring Week came to life.
“Spring Week is a SLAM/campus tradition that is held every spring in April,” Zawrak said. “We hold a week of events for the school and we just celebrate and welcome spring.”
With the blooming of ideas for Spring Week beginning in the frigid months of winter, the board has had a ton of time to put together every ounce of fun needed to cater to the student body.
“Spring Week in terms of planning begins in the winter,” Zawrak said. “During the winter, I began brainstorming, [and] I came up with the theme [of West Coast Road Trip].”
Though spring living on the east coast can be dull, a West Coast Road Trip during the time of the tri-state area’s mixed weather couldn’t have been better.
“Even though the weather’s still not completely there yet, we still want to have fun on campus before the semester ends,” Zawrak said.
What is included in these flourishing events? Live entertainment is a big one. Spring wouldn’t be complete at SLAM without the lively sounds of popular music artists, actors, DJs and even students.
Sydney Bragg, a senior biology major and SLAM’s live entertainment coordinator, shared the intense process of bringing artists such as DJ Jhasir Pow and Carvell, as well as actor Michael Rainey Jr. to the table.
“When you’re doing live entertainment, obviously there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes parts that go into it,” Bragg said. “Not only are you negotiating with agents and artists behind-the-scenes, but the day of, you’re giving directions, you’re setting up gift baskets to welcome them, you’re getting a writer from them that has a whole list of foods that they want that you have to get the day of, so there’s a lot of nuts and bolts that go into that.”
Another big part of the process is financing. Nicole Cabrera-Borrero, a sophomore accounting major and SLAM’s financial director of programming, shared how Spring Week is budgeted.
“We are making sure [that] we make the best financial decisions since we are using student fees to serve the student body,” Cabrera-Borrero said.
Paperwork for purchasing fun items such as cowboy hats and getting quotes from food vendors to serve crispy tacos and fresh burgers play a big role in planning the numerous events accordingly.
“When [Zawrak] gets an idea, say he, for example, wanted to do cowboy hat making, we have processes for [the] SGA in order to do financial paperwork,” Cabrera-Borrero said. “The block party we know takes up a majority of our budget, so we’re prepared for that. [The] Silent Disco we know we have a lower cost event. It’s generally around $5,000, while the block party is around $20,000. So, we know how to separate those two.”
To spread the word to students, communications coordinators Daphinne Bazzoni and Teni Bello worked together to promote the budding of Spring Week. Aesthetics and eye-popping flyers were put up to capture the attention of students.
“For us personally, we communicate with our on-campus chairs,” said Bello, who is a graduate sports communications major. “Whatever they need in terms of flyers for their events, typically we collaborate on flyers, making sure they look aesthetically pleasing.”
The planning for promoting the events begins closer to the date of the event.
“[The on-campus chairs] give us the deadline,” said Bazzoni, who is a senior marketing major. “So if [Zawrak] needs flyers by a certain date, we just follow his date, and when it comes to posting the events, we post it the Sunday of, so it’s fresh in everybody’s mind that the whole week ahead of them [there are] events every day.”
Now that Spring Week has come and gone, the SLAM staff was able to see their hard work for the last events of the school year come to life.
“We built this connection,” Bello said. “I feel like the main thing for people to remember is that it’s more than just SLAM, it’s more than just SGA, it’s [that] we’re family, and that’s what’s important.”
Bazzoni is happy that she saw some of the same students come to each event.
“It’s so good to see the same students coming out to our Monday event all the way to Friday and Saturday to see that they kept up,” Bazzoni said.
Zawrak was pleased to see numbers rise and already has eye-opening plans in store for next year.
“As for our first event, we already beat out the attendance for most of the homecoming events which I thought was incredible,” Zawrak said. “After this week is done, I have even more ideas that I hope to bring next year.”
Bragg was also excited about live entertainment, as Montclair State University students got the chance to showcase their talents at the Slammin’ Festival.
“Allowing students to get their chance to feel like they can shine on campus and have people come [to] see them and have that space on campus is what SLAM is all about,” Bragg said.