Simplified from the acronym, it is the Student Activities Council, a group responsible for coordinating a number of different campus events for students. What many may not realize though is SAC is a group of students tirelessly working to provide specific and varied entertainment to students.
It’s all about specially tailoring plans to the wants and needs of the Northwest student population. Grocery Bingo, Cosmic Bowling and the fall or spring concerts are the most prominent SAC events students can take part in.
Grocery Bingo offers students the opportunity to enjoy themselves while also giving them the chance to win the always-practical reward of groceries. On the other end of things, concerts and cosmic bowling are events almost strictly made to give students an outlet to hangout, connect and have fun.
It sounds simple enough. At least, to some students, SAC sounds as easily coordinated as throwing darts at a dartboard just to see what sticks.
For SAC Vice President Asma Hassan, sophomore psychology and human services major, deciding when events happen isn’t just a difficult task. To her, there is nothing more difficult.
“I think the hardest thing I’ve encountered is setting the date of events,” Hassan said. “There’s so much that Northwest provides that I would like every student to have the opportunity to attend.”
Drawing attention to the many events SAC puts on can be difficult, and student interest is paramount to SAC’s success. The organization is, after all, the ‘Student’ Activity Council.
Some students may recall the email they received from SAC over the weekend asking for input on how the council should decide when concerts happen and who the talent is.
Complaints about the spring and fall concerts are common among student discourse online and on campus. ‘There needs to be rock artists,’ ‘where is the variety’ and ‘who chooses this stuff’ are just some examples of the thoughts students have around the concert seasons. SAC has seen these, and their email survey was an attempt to answer some of these complaints.
Sophomore transfer student Jason Rusten says he understands why SAC has made some of their decisions.
“I have talked with some friends who were displeased with the fact that there seems to be a plethora of country artists,” Rusten said. “I think SAC should continue what they are doing because I know money is key, but I also think they should mix it up a bit.”
Though Rusten is supportive of SAC and can kind of see where they are coming from, he can also see where some of the complaints are stemming from too. Money will always be an issue, but mixing it up will at least show students SAC is always looking for answers.
Ali Stott, junior, public relations major and SAC’s media relations director, was the SAC concert director for three years. Stott has been vocal about the work that goes into coordinating concerts and is more than willing to communicate with students who are confused about the process. One thing she did learn from being concert director though is that making everyone happy is impossible.
“I have seen many rumors that large artists such as Logic and Kendrick got turned down for Chase Rice,” Stott said. “To set those rumors straight, they did not get turned down for Chase Rice. The first choice on the last survey was Lil Dicky. We sent him an offer and he did not have the desire to tour at the time. This aspect of the process is completely out of SAC’s control.”
She goes on to explain how the artist, hospitality, production, hiring security, hiring an EMT on site and a middling agent fee all take up portions of the budget. She says larger scale artists will sometimes require the use of Bearcat arena, which takes nearly 25 percent of the budget right off the top.
Stott explained how artists like Logic, for example, are listed at around $300,000. An artist like this would cost nearly triple the SAC budget.
Students are still quick to criticize though, stating that even if SAC had the budget to bring these artists in, they would stick to displeasing everyone. To this, Stott has a few words.
“Students are not aware of the extent of money and time it takes to plan a concert at a university,” Stott said. “This is why we highly encourage students to attend our meetings so they can have a better understanding of what SAC does to plan our events. The more ideas, the better.”
As Stott said, SAC is more than willing to listen to what everyone has to say, and showing up to their meetings every Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Union Boardroom is one of the most direct ways to accomplish this. Anyone who cannot attend these times can direct comments and concerns to SAC’s email at email@example.com.
In order to put a larger focus on making sure students leave happy, SAC has shifted their priorities in the past years to lean more toward quality events rather than hitting a number of events.
Shyla Kallhoff, junior and human services/Spanish double major, is the current president of SAC and explained further how SAC makes some of its decisions.
“We have rid our bylaws of minimum event requirements that each director needs to plan, and instead have encouraged directors to think about the outcome of each event,” Kallhoff said. “Now, we focus on how it will positively impact students, instead of trying to crank out events just to meet the minimum number. We gauge student interest by sending out a survey to every student who swiped in at our event, and then we analyze that data after the event on a more direct basis.”
Kallhoff went on to describe how SAC has impacted her, and why, despite criticism, she feels it is a huge positive force on campus.
“The best single part of SAC to me is seeing the students reaction or attitude change after our event. I love seeing the students have a good time at our events, learning something or just having fun and socializing with others,” Kallhoff said. “I just want students to know that SAC is working for the students, not against them.”
Besides the open-to-student-input meetings, SAC largely works behind the scenes. The group still keeps up with every bit of criticism they see, regardless of how often student think their opinions are ignored though.
Even though SAC will always be shifting focus to meet student expectations, they will never change from being a student-run council.