Student organization brings big names to campus

Judge Donita Whitney-Bammerlin holds up a "9" as her rating for Reagan Kays and Ashlenn Welbrock's dance during the 2015 Dancing with the K-State Stars in McCain Auditorium on Feb. 10, 2015. (File Photo by George Walker | The Collegian)

Kevin Hart, Will Ferrell and Aziz Ansari are all comedians who have been invited to perform in Manhattan by the Union Program Council, a K-State organization dedicated to coordinating events for the K-State community.

“It is an event planning organization that aims to plan a bunch of different events throughout the year,” Megan Varhola, UPC president and senior in accounting, said. “We plan over 150 events, and they’re just meant to engage campus and give students something to do outside of regular campus and school life.”

Beth Bailey, assistant director of programs at UPC, said the events are focused on the students.

“Events are put on by the students, for the students,” Bailey said.

The students can be involved in the decision-making process when it comes to what will be brought to campus throughout the year, Varhola said. Whether in person, on paper or electronically, the students have the opportunity to provide input on what the UPC does.

“Every spring we put out a campuswide survey made by a student on the board that is sent out to every student,” Varhola said. “We also went to other schools to see their programming and what they do, as well as word of mouth, talking to students and seeing what they’re interested in.”

Bailey said the UPC is available to receive feedback through social media, email and its website.

Performers such as Bryan Regan, Bill Nye the Science Guy and Jason Derulo, as well as many others, have come to K-State through UPC, according to the group’s website. These performers are paid with funds that come from UPC.

“The funding for UPC is funded through student privilege fees, an administration fee and self-generated income,” Bailey said. “There is an occasion for a parent-family association grant, but that’s not a given every year. We have to apply for that.”

Events happen throughout the year, though some are bigger than others, Bailey said. Some are free and some have small fees to help cover the cost. All events draw crowds, but UPC is always looking to get more people to show up at events, Bailey said.

In terms of the “smaller” events that are approaching campus soon, Varhola said the organization is continuing some student-favorites, while also bringing in some fresh events that students haven’t seen.

“Dancing with the K-State Stars is coming up,” Varhola said. “This year we’re doing the K-State Voice. I know multicultural is doing Cirque Zuma-Zuma. So we do have a lot of new and traditional events on the horizon that are very fun.”

In terms of “big-name events,” like when UPC brought Kevin Hart to Bramlage Coliseum in October 2015, Bailey said something is in the works, but she can’t quite say what.

“We are working on something, but until we have a signed contract and are ready to do the reveal for promotions, we can’t share that right now,” Bailey said. “So stay tuned.”