By Katie Zeck
When Nick Barbati first came to Rider in 2003 as a freshman political science major, he had no idea that he would eventually be working with future Rider students to bring a variety of performers to campus, let alone that he would receive an award for it.
“I really have the best job,” said Barbati, an office of campus activities coordinator and adviser for the Student Entertainment Council (SEC). “I’m in the field of making memories for students, memories that they can look back on and reminisce about the fun that they had a certain event. I’m so glad I am able to provide that for Rider students.”
This past week, Barbati was notified that he had been selected as Programmer of the Year, an award sponsored by College Power Performers. Barbati said the award is flattering, but not the true reward of his job.
“The recognition was an honor, but my true award is working with the students and knowing that when a performer comes here, we do our best to provide them, and the students, with a positive and memorable experience.”
The recipient of the award was determined by performers who rate their experiences at the campuses they visit. A letter sent to Barbati from Power Performers stated that event planners from 4,200 inaugural campuses were rated by the performers brought to those campuses. The performers rated their visits based on the planning of the event and their personal experience.
“I’m always pretty impressed with the quality and variety of events Rider brings to campus,” said sophomore Karen Canino. “They’re all organized really well. [It] makes sense that the person in charge of overseeing the events would win an award.”
According to Barbati, Rider’s well-planned and well-run events that won the award are a credit to the students involved in the SEC.
“We always get compliments from our performers on the quality of service they receive from our SEC students and the quality of the event as a whole,” he said.
Rider’s SEC often attends conferences with planning boards from other colleges and according to Barbati, “not all schools handle themselves in the way Rider’s SEC does; without question our students stand out as most professional and most mature.”
As far as planning campus events and bringing entertainers to campus, the students are very hands on, carrying out all the major steps necessary to run an event on campus.
“I sit back and give them info and help them with different acts, but they ultimately make decisions, guide finances and make everything happen,” Barbati said. “My job is to make sure everything is in order and that all the I’s are dotted and T’s crossed when the performers do come to campus.”
SEC President Willie Emmanuel was not suprised his adviser would win an award such as this.
“Nick has truly been a motivator and exemplary model for myself,” he said. “I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for such a prestigious honor than him. I could not be happier for him and certainly wish him the best.”
Barbati has long been a part of making sure Rider students have the best in terms of entertainment events. As an undergraduate, he quickly developed a good relationship with Student Affairs and was offered a job in the Office of Campus Life upon his graduation in 2007. Since then, he has helped to bring numerous acts of a wide variety to Rider.
Out of all of the events he has been a part of, Barbati felt the best-presented event was the Michael Jackson Tribute show held at the end of last semester in the Bart Luedeke Center (BLC) theater.
“At the end of the show people were standing up, singing and dancing. There was such a strong energy and it was clear that everyone in the audience was having a great time,” he said. “I love that moment. Because of the event, we were able to make their lives better and more enjoyable for that one night, a feeling they otherwise would not have been able to experience.”
With regards to the award, Barbati reinforced the fact that while he is pleased and honored, working with his students is what makes him love his job.
“The award itself is very nice and being Programmer of the Year is great, but being an adviser to [SEC students] is even better.”