April 17, 2018 8:15AM
Planned for 7 p.m. on April 26, Bananarama will include bands, bungee jumping, and surfing, among other things.
The Gorilla Activities Board, the student group responsible for planning, marketing, and implementing Bananarama, is new — sort of. It's a version of what in 1963 was called the Student Union Board, which in 1995 became the Student Activities Council.
When the Overman Student Center completed a renovation and expansion in 2015, the SAC rebranded and became GAB, picking up steam with the aid of social media that could reach thousands.
GAB is comprised of 30 active members, with about 10 holding executive board positions. The group hosts an event just about every week of the academic year between booths set up in the OSC, interactive marketing campaigns, and small- and large-scale events.
"Events include everything from theme-based events like casino night, to welcome back events such as a hypnotist and foam and powder paint dance party, to speakers, music, comedy, movies — any events that are relevant and exciting to our student population," said Mary Mercer, program coordinator for Campus Activities Center.
Along the way, members are learning leadership and teamwork skills, marketing and communication strategies, and more. Last year, GAB added major concert planning to that list. Their goal: to make a difference to students and leave a lasting impression on the campus.
"We want to provide the students of Pittsburg State University, as well as the entire PSU Community, an opportunity to de-stress and enjoy a live music event unique to this area," said GAB Entertainment Chair Skyler Jones, who is spearheading the event. "This is also a great way to show future Gorillas the opportunities available to them at PSU."
To prepare, Jones joined GAB President Brittany Worthington at the Concert Management Institute in Nashville, Tennessee, to gain further leadership and marketing skills and ideas.
Each year, GAB members also attended the national convention of the National Association for Campus Activities; this year, Worthington and GAB member Maggie Reeves presented two educational sessions, and Worthington completed the Experienced Leadership Track.
"They spend five days at the conference, putting in 16-hour days in which they watch entertainment, complete sessions, and network with peers around the country," Mercer said. "They work with regional peers to find opportunities to bring entertainment around the same date range to secure booking discounts to minimize the artists' travel costs."
To pull off Bananarama, GAB selected their performers — opening band Cover Drive, who Wimmer described as having a Caribbean sound, and headliner Half the Animal, an alternative band — as well as festival-like attractions.
Then, Jones, who is pursuing a degree in Elementary Education, worked with Rachel Lubowicz, who is pursuing a degree in Business, to develop a marketing plan. Cara Zacny, who is pursuing a degree in Graphics & Imaging Technologies, designed a logo. Kaden Wimmer, who is pursuing a degree in Communication with an emphasis in PR, created social media strategies with assistance from Damian Gonzalez, who is pursuing a degree in Communication.
On April 19, GAB will take over social media channels typically administered by University Marketing & Communication in #TakeoverThursday in order to promote the event to a wider audience.
Measures have been put in place to ensure safety of attendees at the concert, including restricting bags from entering the stadium and limiting refreshments on the field to just bottled water.
Tickets will be sold on April 25 and April 26 at the PSU Ticket Office inside the Weede Physical Education Building, and an hour before the event at the stadium. The event is free to PSU students with a valid ID, $3 for faculty and staff, and $5 for the public.
To learn more about GAB or to get involved, visit http://www.pittstate.edu/office/student-activities/