Meet Colleen and Rutvik. Colleen, a senior political science major, and Rutvik, a junior mechanical engineering major, are both members of the University Programming Council (UPC).
UPC is the student agency responsible for bringing some of the biggest events to campus every year, including Spring Concert and Big Chill. With the help of a full-time advisor, the students in UPC plan more than 20 events every academic year from the ground up. Colleen and Rutvik are President and Vice President, respectively, helping direct a group of 25+ students spanning many majors.
UPC provides students with real-world experience event planning, and working with professionals in a whole host of event-planning related professions. Let's take a look at what goes in to planning the perfect event for University of Massachusetts students.
What is the mission of UPC?
Colleen: UPC is a student-run organization that plans and executes innovative campus-wide events for the students of UMass Amherst and the surrounding community. UPC aims to provide students with an abundance of safe, educational, and entertaining events. We plan everything from Late Night Movies every week, to the Big Chill that happens on the last day of classes.
How long have you been involved in UPC?
Colleen: I have been involved in UPC since my sophomore year, so about two and a half years.
Rutvik: I have been involved for five semesters.
Why did you get involved?
Colleen: My sister was good friends with one of the previous presidents, and he really sold the club to me. I knew I wanted to get involved after he told me everything that UPC does on campus.
Rutvik: I wanted to get involved and meet more people on campus!
What are some activities the club does?
Colleen: UPC puts on both large and small scale events for students, including weekly Late Night Movies, monthly UMass Night Out events, talent competitions like UMass Got Talent, speaker events, Fall Concert and Spring Concert, the Homecoming Parade, Big Chill, and so many more events throughout the year. We also plan and execute the Welcome Week events for Freshmen alongside the Student Engagement and Leadership office.
What kind of leadership and skills development do you get from your involvement?
Colleen: I have learned how to effectively manage not only a team, but an entire organization. UPC has also allowed me to improve my communication skills significantly, as well as my crisis management process. UPC presents a safe learning environment where members are able to progress as an individual leader while learning to collaborate and create as a team.
Rutvik: I certainly have improved my teamwork and organizational skills, which have helped me in various parts of my life. Being an E-board member has also helped me improve my leadership skills.
What kind of people have you met through this organization?
Colleen: One of the coolest parts of UPC, other than our events, are the people involved. Our members come from so many different majors and bring a variety of experiences to the agency. We have Isenberg majors, future engineers, SBS majors, artists, and natural science majors just to name a few. It is really amazing to see all different people brought together by one organization.
What does the organization contribute to campus?
Colleen: Our mission is to provide accessible, fun and safe programs for students on our campus. Therefore, we host programs, both social and educational, that aim to connect a variety of students to one another while creating a welcoming and energetic environment for UMass students, as well as our organization members. We also hope to teach our members critical leadership skills, which enable them to improve UMass as a whole, and the University Programming Council for future generations.
Rutvik: UPC contributes by trying to integrate social, educational, recreational, and multicultural activities at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, consistently evaluating these programs and assessing the needs of the university community in order to provide meaningful developmental opportunities and experiences, as well as provide a more enjoyable and purposeful life for all members of the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Who should join this club?
Colleen: Everyone should join UPC! The people and experiences you have in this organization are priceless, and the organization offers unique opportunities, like executing large scale concerts, to develop your leadership abilities. UPC really does provide you a “backstage pass” to the planning process of campus activities on the UMass Amherst campus.
Rutvik: Everyone should join this club as it is an amazing place to meet new people and have new and exciting experiences. You can also learn the basics of event planning and learn about what goes on behind the scenes at the big events we plan throughout the year.