SEC selection seeks to maximize student satisfaction

Hip-hop artist J. Cole performs for Rider students on Oct. 18.

By Claire Dalzon

The Student Entertainment Council (SEC) partied with us on I Love College Club Night, took us parasailing in Ocean City, N.J., brought in a ventriloquist from “America’s Got Talent,” made us laugh with a comic juggler and now, on Oct. 18, it is presenting the Fall Concert with performances by Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist J. Cole and R&B sensation Miguel.

The process the SEC went through in order to select the fall performer had several specific steps, which needed to be made before the final decision was reached.

According to Campus Life Coordinator Nick Barbati, the SEC first looks at the student survey, which is emailed to the student body at the end of the year. This online survey tells the SEC which genres of music are the most popular among students. This year pop came in first, with rock following close behind.

The council explored its options based on that information but ultimately couldn’t find any acts in either genre that fit the necessary criteria.

According to Joyce Suarez, special events chair of SEC and the student responsible for planning the Fall Concert, there is a science to the process.

“We have a database of artists given by our manager for each genre and all the pop and rock acts either couldn’t come to [Rider on] the dates we provided or were on tour in the UK,” Suarez said. “We went down the line and focused on the next remaining genres, which were hip-hop and R&B. With the help of our manager we thought about who is hot right now and who would satisfy both genres, which eventually resulted in booking J. Cole and Miguel.”

Barbati is enthusiastic about this season’s concert and he seems to think he’s not the only one.

“Apparently everybody is just as thrilled as I am,” he said. “The tickets sold out in three days. If the fire capacity of the Student Recreation Center (SRC) was 1,400 like last year instead of the current 1,700, the show would have been sold out in just six hours.”

While now happy with the fall performer, Barbati admits that he wasn’t initially familiar with the artist.

“Before planning this event I had no idea who J. Cole was,” he said. “But I’ve been recently listening to Miguel’s music and his latest CD has been on constant repeat.”

Some students shared Barbati’s initial confusion regarding Rider’s musical guest, including junior behavioral neuroscience major Christina O’Brien.

However, after becoming better acquainted with the artist, her confusion turned to enthusiasm.

“I’m excited,” O’Brien said. “I just wish it wasn’t on a Thursday, it really makes me worried that I’ll be drained for Friday classes.”

Suarez says that there is a good reason behind the scheduling.

“J. Cole had a private engagement on the Friday and Saturday of the October weekend that the SRC was available,” Suarez said. “Also, we have had success having the concert on a Thursday night in the past.”

Willie Emmanuel, president of the SEC explained that there are other extenuating factors that limit Rider’s choices in performers.

“We also have to remember that not all artists are willing to perform on college campuses and are in our price range,” Emmanuel said.

Many students also wonder why the concert takes place in the fall rather than during the spring, as many other universities choose. Barbati says there is a simple reason for that: it allows for more flexibility and less competition between other colleges who are interested in the same acts. There is also the issue of performers dropping out at the last minute.

“A few years ago the act for the spring concert went ill and we couldn’t do much after that,” Barbati said. “If anything was to happen now, we would have next semester to recover and prepare ourselves. It’s just more adjustable.”

Even though the process of booking a performer was not an easy task, the SEC is satisfied with and excited about what it planned for the Rider students.

The J. Cole concert is Thursday, Oct. 18, at 10 p.m. in the SRC.

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