The University Programming Council (UPC) here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is the student organization responsible for bringing some of the biggest events to campus.
I spoke with UPC Executive Director Rutvik Shah, who describes the council as “a diverse group of students working together to better the campus life at UMass Amherst”. The council plans and organizes many different events featuring guest speakers, the performing arts, concerts, light night programming, and special events. In addition to planning events, the UPC promotes and markets their events from the ground up. All events and programs are planned for students, by students.
Event planning this year has been different in many aspects. All previous events were in person, so UPC could base their event planning on work from prior years. Since most students are studying remotely this year, UPC was challenged with creating virtual events. This was a process that took a little longer, as it required lots of research to see what events were out there, and which events would relate more with the student body. Some aspects of the event planning did remain the same, such as maintaining a logistical plan for the event, and consistent communication with all vendors before the event started.
Each year the UPC runs an activities expo where students can find out more about many of the more than 200 register student organizations (RSOs) at UMass Amherst. This year’s expo was done virtually through Campus Pulse, and took place August 28-30. Each RSO had a zoom link for a specific period on one day, where students were able to pop in, ask questions, and learn about the RSO. Other events held by the UPC include, but are not limited to, UMass Night Outs, Trivia and Bingo nights, and Late Night Movie held through Netflix Party. These events are a great way to meet and chat with people virtually and win a ton of prizes along the way. They are open to all UMass Amherst students, and are free of charge.
Rutvik Shah notes “times are tough right now and I think it is important for students to make sure they are keeping up with all the campus events and activities”. Attending these events allows students to connect across the globe and make meaningful connections with other students while learning remotely. Shah also suggests students join a registered student organization they are interested in as it’s a great way to meet people with similar interests and to be more involved with the UMass Community.
UPC meetings are also held every Tuesday night at 7pm and everyone is invited to attend and provide feedback and suggestions for future events. To learn more about UPC, follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.