Homecoming concert, event selection no easy task, SAB president says ​

Nov 03, 2017

PANTHER 2017 fall homecoming news conference

SAB President Tamera Jones, left, and Konist Davis-Johnson, chair of the Claflin Homecoming Committee, outline 2017 plans on Nov. 1. (Panther photo)

The process of planning homecoming events is more difficult than students know, the leader of the Claflin Student Activities Board said.

Most of the student body does not understand the process, Tamera Jones said during a news conference with The Panther on Nov. 1, the day before the homecoming concert artists were announced. Planning events and scouting artists liked by a majority of students are a challenging and lengthy process that began at the first of the spring semester.

“It is very stressful,” said Jones, whose stated priority in proposing concert acts was to be sure there is variety. “I wanted to get something that every student on campus listens too.”

The selection process has guidelines that the SAB board must follow, Jones said. They include creating an outline of desired events, receiving a budget and getting approval from the administration.

“The homecoming outline is revised five to six times,” Jones said.

The artist selection for the homecoming concert is based on a 2017 summer survey, but students often do not take time to let their preferences be known, she said. The most recent survey got 400 responses.

Joining Jones at the news conference was Konist Davis-Johnson, who has chaired the Claflin Homecoming Committee for eight years.

“We want to cater to everyone on campus,” Davis-Johnson said. But being fiscally responsible is essential, particularly since each Claflin student is assessed $50 a year for homecoming.

“We see what we can or cannot afford,” Davis-Johnson said regarding concert acts and other entertainment. There is a priority on being sure the students get their money’s worth.

Artists and acts that will not agree to a full concert performance are rejected, as are those that Davis-Johnson said will not agree to avoid profanity and antics that are not “Claflin-friendly.”

Some artists can’t even perform for 15 minutes on stage, and some want $1,000 a minute, Davis-Johnson. Others refuse to do a meet-and-greet with students.

Some refuse to conform to any requests and make all kinds of demands for services, from chauffeured vehicles to special hotel accommodations, she said.

 “We have to think about what we are going to give the student body for their money,” she said.

The objective is to offer students three reputable artists and a local artist, Davis-Johnson said. In the past, some up-and-coming artists who are today’s big names have headlined Claflin’s homecoming.

The homecoming concert must be two hours long, she said. “So we try to get artists that will give our students a full show.”

And don’t think the university is doing student entertainment on the cheap, Davis-Johnson said. “We have spent over $100,000 for the week of homecoming.”

On Wednesday, SAB announced this year’s homecoming artists are Tink, Eric Bellinger and DJ Luke Nasty, along with local artist Dammy 864.

“I rely heavily on SAB for advice,” Davis-Johnson said, praising Jones for an “awesome, awesome job.”

Jones said she knows the SAB cannot please everyone with the homecoming plan but that is the objective. Most discouraging is hearing students say they aren’t planning to participate and attend events, she said.

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