Over three years ago, art education senior Lauren Patterson received an invitation to an MSU leadership conference in her residence hall mailbox. After being involved in her high school’s student government, Patterson found that her first semester at MSU left her with too much free time on her hands. She decided to go to the conference alone and found herself searching for a table of friendly faces during the lunch break. Those friendly faces she found belonged to officers and volunteers from the University Activities Board. They invited Patterson to a UAB meeting the following week where many of the students she had lunched with remembered her. A few months later, she applied for an officer position and three years later she is still planning events as the arts and crafts officer.
[monkey] Besides Arts and Crafts, UAB has seven other committees, each running three on-campus events per semester. Most events provide free late night and weekend entertainment and many events are annual. The Communications, Human Resources, Films, Business, Spirit and Traditions, Education and Multicultural and Special Events committees are responsible for beginning-of-the-year traditions such as U-Fest and the spring festival Sparty Spring Party. UAB has been in existence since 1916 when it was called The Union Activities Board and students still think it’s running smoothly.
“It’s fun, they’re organized and helpful and good at putting stuff together,” performer Clint Atkinson said about the UAB at a recent event, Showtyme at MSU. Atkinson sang with the Spartan Dischords at the event and also performed at UAB’s Spartan Idol.
An upcoming event Patterson is working on is The Celebration of the Arts on February 25 in the MSU Union, which, as its name implies, focuses on all thing artistic. Although this is the third year running for the Celebration of the Arts, this is the first time that artwork from students will be featured. Each student who enters their work in the Celebration will be considered for their own space in a local gallery.
In the past, the Celebration has included caricature drawings, henna and dancers. This year’s event will include those features in addition to inviting over 20 registered student organizations to promote their organization or to perform. There will also be three bands performing including Buddah’s Belly from Chicago.
“I expect it to be above and beyond past years because it will draw from the MSU community in many different places,” Patterson said.
Planning a UAB event doesn’t happen overnight; months of work go into each event in a process that can be exhausting, yet exciting. Patterson began planning for this event in November when she sent letters to local art galleries. One of the most challenging aspects of planning an event like this is contacting many different people and asking for their assistance. However, all of the work is usually rewarded with an excellent turnout.
[uab]“I think most of our most successful UAB events have been ones that involve many different students,” Patterson said. Last semester, the UAB involved 74,000 students in its events and that number can only continue to grow.
In the UAB’s Big Room, where four computers and a meeting table provide the space for UAB members to put together upcoming events, Patterson helps a fellow UAB member make phone calls to art galleries. A student next to her works on a poster for an upcoming event, an officer across the room writes an e-mail, another eats lunch at the table and the officer behind her cuts out paper hearts. The group laughs at a joke and Patterson, no doubt, feels the same welcoming feeling she felt when she first joined the UAB.

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