Laurier Students’ Union events: a year in review

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Photo by Brit Kovacs

The 2019 fall semester here at Laurier has seen many exciting events take place.

From concerts to craft beer fests, drag shows and cooking demonstrations, the events at Laurier have been nothing short of exciting thus far.

“I think we’re trying new stuff this year. We haven’t done a drag show at Laurier for years and we’ve never done a speaker-type event like we have, and I think the fresh programming is what’s really invited people in,” said Twan Dieker, VP of programming and services for WLUSU.

Laurier started strong with event programming when Toronto rapper Jazz Cartier was invited to host the O-Week concert to a sold-out crowd of students. Since then, every event has been extremely successful, explained Dieker.

“Since then we’ve had our craft beer fest — it’s our third annual and it was our biggest one this year. We took it outside which was a really big step and a really big accomplishment so we were so thrilled with the turn out,” Dieker said.

Following that, Laurier hosted a sold-out drag show featuring Brooke Lynn Hytes from RuPaul’s Drag Race.

“We were thrilled to see that event sell out, and the feedback was so good that we’re looking at doing another one in the coming semester. So, people have just really responded well to that type of programming,” Dieker said.

In November, Antoni Porowski from Netflix’s Queer Eye visited Laurier to do a cooking demonstration and speaking session in front of an eager crowd of students.

“We are hoping to do a lot more speaker events because people responded so positively to that, so we are looking at what kind of other opportunities we have to bring speakers,” Dieker said.

Seeing where there’s opportunities to change things — what needs change and what doesn’t need change, and just kind of looking at everything from a more critical lens I think contributed a lot to how it’s different this year. It’s just taking a finer tooth comb through everything and seeing where we can change, and it’s paid off.

– Twan Dieker, VP of programming and services for WLUSU

“We’ve just been pushing the envelope a little on not sticking with the status quo, and by doing that I think people have responded really positively to that. So, we’ve been challenging a lot of the traditions and seeing how we can make it better and new and fresh and I think that’s paying off a lot for us.”

With every event thus far having had high attendance and generating plenty of commotion on campus, it’s fair to say that the Student’s Union has had a very successful fall semester in terms of event planning.

The success of the Brooke Lynn Hytes drag show as well as Antoni Porowski’s cooking demonstration has not gone unnoticed by the student body, either.

“A lot of the events we have run have always been very high energy and some of them we’ve kind of toned down from that. People have appreciated that we’ve just made simple programming — simple and effective programming,” Dieker said.

There is no plan for these events to slow down in the winter semester, either.

“Thursday we have our Return to The Snow event, so in the quad we’re gonna be putting up an ice rink … some food and some drink vendors, live music and games and we’re kind of going to transform the quad,” Dieker said.

Students can now purchase tickets for recording artist Bulow’s performance at the Turret on Jan. 16. Following that is Open Mic Idol at Wilf’s on Jan. 20, and students can apply now to compete.

Although nothing is revealed as of yet, students can look forward to plenty of programming during the week of Valentine’s Day, explained Dieker.

“Our year end concert is coming up very quickly — it’s just gonna fly out of nowhere — so we have our year end concert to look forward to. We’re going to be announcing a headliner soon,” Dieker said.

The success of this year’s events have been no small feat. Dieker explained that working closely with other schools is helpful in terms of event programming.

“Just hearing what other schools are doing and working closely with them to get better deals, bring in different acts and kind of working that way has been really helpful for us,” Dieker said.

“Seeing where there’s opportunities to change things — what needs change and what doesn’t need change, and just kind of looking at everything from a more critical lens I think contributed a lot to how it’s different this year. It’s just taking a finer tooth comb through everything and seeing where we can change, and it’s paid off.”

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