NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

Concert Comes Home to Spring Semester

Eric Camargo
Homecoming concert takes place in the Wellness and Events Center in Fall 2022

Many students now in their fourth year on campus have seen a tradition of concerts taking place during NJIT’s Homecoming weekend. This, however, wasn’t the intended case in prior years, and the Office of Student Life is pushing this year’s concert to occur in the Spring like it did before the COVID-19 pandemic.  

According to the Office of the Dean of Students, the first concert on campus took place on Thursday, April 30, 2015 and featured rappers B.o.B and Wale. The university then hosted Springfest on Friday, April 29, 2016, and its concert featured R&B singer-songwriter Kehlani. At the time, the Director of Campus Life managed these events, as the Office of Student Life’s structure was different then.  

When current Associate Dean of Students Dr. Kristie Damell first joined NJIT in Fall 2018, she advised the Student Senate while in the Office of Student Life. There were already plans in place to hold a concert in Spring 2019 featuring rapper and singer-songwriter Tory Lanez.  

“We were the first to hold concerts in the Wellness and Events Center, [first opened in Fall 2017], so it was a learning lesson,” Damell added. “It wasn’t just the Office of Student Life either — I partnered with Albert Martinez and Angeline Sosa in Strategic Events and Conference Services to ensure we could pull them off. It’s a larger university effort involving Public Safety, Facilities, Athletics, etc., so it takes a great deal of planning and time.”  

Due to a broken contract, the office in charge shifted to a Fall 2019 concert that happened on Friday, the day before Homecoming took place on Saturday. The artist who performed was rapper and singer-songwriter A Boogie Wit da Hoodie. “It was a lot of work staffing-wise to do this back-to-back with Homecoming,” Damell said, as she was in charge of both events.  

The pandemic paused event planning on campus for the 2020-21 year, but Fall 2021 saw a continuation of the plan from two years prior. Recalling the hectic schedule with large events on consecutive days, Student Life decided to move the concert featuring Jason Derulo — R&B and pop singer-songwriter — to the Thursday before Saturday’s Homecoming.  

“This worked well, but we all felt there was a lot of excitement at the beginning of the year with not as much left in the Spring,” Damell explained. The next Director of Student Life, Matthew Blanar, discussed the idea of shifting to a spring concert in the future with the Student Senate and Student Activities Council so they could be more involved in the planning process. 

Fall 2022’s concert featured Kenny Beats, a DJ, producer, and songwriter; WJTB Radio performed as an opener for the evening, and NJIT’s Chapter of International Game Developers Association designed the visuals to go along with the opening act.  

Current Director of Student Life Michael Davis mentioned that the Student Senate has provided the budget for the events in the past, while also volunteering for the events themselves, but Student Life anticipates having more input from the organization for the event on Friday, April 26, 2024.  

“Leaders of the Student Activities Council, Senate, and WJTB have provided guidance regarding the type of genre and/or artist they’d like to see; ideally this is done through some sort of student assessment,” Davis said. “Our office hopes that these three organizations can have a more active role in planning and execution, similar to models at other universities.”  

“When I oversaw concerts at Stevens Institute of Technology for 10 years, we also did spring concerts to balance out the year, and it worked well,” Damell said. Davis also included that “although a fall concert has been successful in the past, that does not mean an opportunity to better the program does not exist.”  

As for this year, students can scan the QR code below and vote on their top two genres they would like to see in the April concert. 

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