Diversity week welcomes Lamar, Big Boi through cooperative effort
Every year, the Last Day of Classes ends the spring semester with a bang. This year, the Student Assembly, AMP and their collaborators came together to provide an LDOC eve concert featuring Kendrick Lamar and Big Boi.
“I’m really excited that the concert’s happening,” SA Madame Chair Kendall Lorenzen ’15 said. “I think it’s going to bring great publicity to I AM W&M diversity week, as long as we make sure that [we] keep the concert about diversity and integrate what Kendrick Lamar and Big Boi bring. … [Kendrick Lamar] talks about actual issues and in dealing with diversity; it’s important to talk about things. Even his big song right now, Swimming Pool, is about his uncle’s battle with alcoholism. He just adds a huge degree of depth.”
The concert will mark the end of I AM W&M Week April 15 in William and Mary Hall. I AM W&M Week is a yearly event celebrating the diversity of the College of William and Mary student body. Due to the date of Lamar’s concert, the week will run longer than usual.
“I think it’ll be really fun,” Assistant Director of Student Activities Trici Frederick said. “I think one of the reasons this was possible is that we did secure a donor for Charter Day, so a lot of the funding we would have had to use for Charter Day we were able to move that over to this concert. … We had a pop artist and now we have a hip-hop artist, so it’s a better variety of music.”
Selection of the I AM W&M concert was a collaborative effort between organizations on campus and administrators. SA President Curt Mills’ ’13 email announcing the concert highlighted the efforts of SA Secretary of Diversity Initiatives Neal Chabra ’14, WCWM Station Director Todd Van Luling ’13, AMP Music Chair Phil Basnight ’13 and Frederick.
“First of all, a big attraction with Lamar is that he is somewhat close to our age, so that made more sense,” Mills said. “Secondly, he’s just on fire right now; the number two album in the country. … And after we signed him, he literally hosted SNL.”
The SA hopes the concert will bring the diversity week program to the forefront of the minds of students.
“In years past, I AM W&M has definitely had a presence, but I think it has been more because of the t-shirts,” Lorenzen said. “I am hoping that with the concert we can place more emphasis on talking about diversity, and people will actually be attending more of the events that lead up to the concert.”
Currently, $90,000 has been put forward for the concert effort from a variety of sources, including the SA and AMP. Mills spoke favorably of trying to include a larger spring concert artist alongside the Charter Day concert.
“I would certainly be open if I were in the SA next year — which I won’t be, of course — to establishing a spring concert as a thing,” Mills said. “Basically, [the SA could establish] a huge speaker in the fall and huge concert in the spring in addition to Charter Day, which I think is still a valiant effort.”
Mills described the pending budget for next year and how it currently will distribute funds to incorporate a number of larger events.
“The budget that we’re going to bring forward to the senate, I think, reflected a lot of the changes we made this year,” Mills said. “In [the budget the executive has determined for AMP], we tried to focus it more [on larger events] … if you’re taking student money, to really put it forward to a big event. For instance, they’re only doing two comedians.”
Mills described how this can be accomplished despite the financial issues the SA is currently facing.
“I think student leaders can learn to work within the means we have,” Mills said. “I haven’t been pleased with the overrides on STI funding and that kind of thing, but I think there’s the money there if we allocate responsibly and get people really watching it and really accountable with the money, then we can do it all. … But we obviously ran a little closer to [being below the budget] than we would have liked to [this year].”