Much like Luke Skywalker was called upon to save the day, so was Richard Freeman called upon to bail out the events commission. Not only was Freeman taking over for the beloved Eric Jablonski--who departed for medical school in Aug.--he also had to run the events commission short-handed and follow Jablonski's platform until the Oct. 25 byelection.
Even though the deck was seemingly stacked against the events crew, it hasn't reflected in their work. Longtime events like Cinemania and That Empty Space continued to be big draws, with Freeman bringing in big names like Mother Mother and The Consonant C for free Fri. afternoon concerts. Alcohol Awareness Week got a new spin, featuring beer and wine tastings and educational segments rather than the outright condemnation of drinking seen in previous years. Freeman has also utilized a different promotional approach, focusing on in-person promos rather posters.
Although Freeman has only been able to follow his own platform since the byelection, some results have already been seen. Arts Fest was greatly improved from the inaugural edition, featuring attractions with much better visibility, advertisement and attendance than last year. Freeman's experience with both sides of the ongoing CJSW saga should provide a bit of balance to the CJSW board as the station's move inches closer to reality.
The first half of the year hasn't been all sunshine for the events crew, however. Sexual Awareness Week's festivities weren't as widely attended as in years past, partly due to a lack of advance promotion. The event also fell on a week in Oct. when Freeman was on an executive retreat in California and the bulk of the workload fell on the remaining three commissioners. Master Debators also hasn't seen crowds as large as some had hoped, despite being located in a high-traffic area in Mac Hall.
The hurdles faced by the events crew at the beginning of the year may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as Sexual Awareness Week and other events that fell on commissioners to run nevertheless turned out fairly well. It also helps that the events commission is full of experienced people. Freeman's no rookie and knows how to run events, having been both an SU events commissioner and CJSW's festival coordinator in the past.
While he didn't blow up the Death Star or anything, Freeman stepped in and did an admirable job at short notice. The second half of the year features some of Freeman's more ambitious goals. Jan. will see the launch of the first-ever Frost Week, aimed at being frosh week--but with more snow. This year's take on Enviropalooza will arrive this spring, in the form of Oil Sands Awareness Week, looking at the environmental impact of Alberta's pot of black gold. There's also the biggest measuring stick for VP Events: the handling of BSD.