University Programming Ensemble Provide Example of Student-Gathered Entertainment


The mission statement for the U.P. Team is “the U.P. Team shall provide high quality programming for the entire Black Hills State University community in order to achieve greater campus cohesion and involvement.” The U.P. team, which is the University Programming team, provides a way for students to engage in different campus events and works to maintain different aspects of interests with the same quality. Every semester is different as there is a lot of variety in what can happen with the type of events offered.

This year there is 20 members involved with U.P. team. Each member is required to have one office hour and one volunteer hour a week. There is a 2.5 GPA requirement to be a member and members of the organization are obligated to attend at least 40 percent of the U.P team events. U.P. Team President Taylor Escott said that the organization, “helped me meet new people on campus and has introduced me to some of my closest friends here on campus.” It also helps students exercise responsibilities such as planning and handle the responsiveness of people.

Some of the events are going to be kept with the schedule from last year and some are going to be excluded such as the “Jackets got talent” which didn’t gather a large attendance last semester. This year there is more contracted events as the U.P. Team works to get specialized performers such as the illusionist Jackson Rayne that was part of the entertainment for August and the music group Cover Drive.

Cover Drive performed Sept. 17 at the Lyle Hare Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. as part of the Swarm Week festivities. Cover Drive is a four-piece R&B band with a strong mix of Reggae styling where they perform cover versions of songs and also original material, “we try to make music for everyone, our music is clean music and it’s relatable,” said Amanda Reifer, one of the performers. Cover Drive is on the way to reach more of a fan base in the U.S. about halfway through the tour having travelled to 40 different colleges so far.

“The cool thing about this tour is you never really know what to expect, it could be 20 or it could be 400,” said T-Ray Armstrong, percussionist and backing vocalist for Cover Drive. The concert on the football stadium Wednesday night had an attendance of over 200. Members of the U.P. Team felt that the band was well received. The sophomore album for Cover Drive is set to be released later this year.

Most of the contracted performers like Cover Drive,were found at the National Association for Campus Activities Conference last May in St. Paul, Minn.The Executive leaders of the team went to the conference to seek out acts that would be the best fit for BHSU in terms of the talent and if they could be performing at other universities in the area. The U.P. team looks to send most of their members to the NACA conference this next year as they look to raise funds so performers can be rated on as a group.

The events this year look to entertain and enlighten. The next U.P. team event is the speaker Will Davis who will talk about how alcohol affects lives and his personal story of the consequences that he dealt with in drinking. Also on Oct. 17 there will be a chainsaw juggler on campus that will be sponsored by the U.P. team.

The events look to entertain and enlighten for the next month with two different spectrums. As Bailey Sadowsky, the U.P. Team Public Relations officer said, these events are “something that a lot of students look forward to.”