SPA Continues to Bring In Big Names For Free

Everyone who’s anyone at Penn State knows about the free HUB concerts that occur every few weekends. I think it’s safe to say that the HUB turns up constantly and hosts some awesome people, like Hoodie Allen, who performed this past Saturday.

How do the concerts happen, though? Where do all these big names come from, and why are they free?

The Student Programming Association (SPA) aims to provide entertainment to students, and it consistently programs throughout the year in hopes of being as diverse as possible when bringing events to campus.

“It’s a really complex org,” Executive Director Liz Malara said. “By that, I mean we have so many different elements because we do it all. We plan the events, book, contract, work, set up, tear down, and prepare every detail in between.”

From the Executive Board to each individual administrator to every separate committee, there are plenty of students who all have a hand in deciding the who, what, when, where, and why factors of each event that SPA puts on.

“SPA chooses its events by a research-voting based system,” Malara said. “Our members research hard to find acts that suit Penn State students. As much as we all may love a certain artist or comedian, we take a step back and think, ‘Will this reach an audience at Penn State?’”

After that, the association compiles a list of ideas, and the committees vote. SPA takes the extra time and effort to realize that there are enormous conditions and factors into getting an event booked. “Sometimes, the contract doesn’t work out or the act is on tour. So, when we finally get to announce, it’s a great feeling,” Malara said.

Like most organizations, SPA’s funding is allocated by UPAC, so its funding comes from a portion of the student activity fee we all pay as part of our tuition. On the rare occasion that SPA charges for an event, the cost of the ticket goes to the venue where the event is being held. The association makes zero profit.

One of SPA’s coolest event staples are always free. Its noontime events every Friday on the first floor of the HUB are hard to miss.

“We bring smaller musicians of all genres and from all over the country,” Malara said. “It’s a special thing that introduces a lot of new music to people. I wish more students knew that happened every single week!”

SPA loves getting feedback and suggestions (but it has already informed us Beyoncé might be asking a little much). Students are its best gauge of what students want. You can tweet your suggestions to SPA, write on its Facebook wall, or just keep up with its social media accounts for regular updates.

“We have a duty to provide quality entertainment, and I believe we really succeed in that respect,” said Malara.

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Amber Kloper

Amber is a first-generation Penn Stater--class of 2016--studying broadcast journalism and business. She likes THON and traveling and reading and writing and music and words and rambling.


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