UPAAB prepares for new academic year


Nefsa'Hyatt Brown, Interim Executive Editor

The University Programs and Activities Board of Alabama State University, affectionately known by students around campus as “UPAAB,” is the student organization responsible for providing many of the programs, events and activities that students enjoy during the year, and according to Executive President QuaShaun Wright, students can expect to receive “the ultimate student experience.”

“UPAAB is one of the most essential parts of campus life,” said Wright, a junior political science major from Cinnaminson, N.J. “We are responsible for executing many of the activities, programs and events that occur on the campus this year and we want them to be professional, while enjoyable.”

Wright said that his vision is “to help the student body understand the role UPAAB plays in their student life” by implementing strategies that “not only educate the student body as to the role of UPAAB, but provide numerous opportunities for student input.”

Understanding his responsibility for the growth and development of the organization, Wright is planning to build upon the foundation laid by his predecessor, David King, Jr., who served as the first executive president.

According to Wright, he will be assisted by an executive board consisting of eight executive vice presidents, an executive assistant and a number of directors and assistant directors that will supervise specific areas of programming and activities.

“I expect nothing more from my team, but for them to work to their fullest potential to provide the ultimate student experience for ASU’s student body,” Wright said. “This is something that without a doubt I know that they will do.”

Within UPAAB’s strategic plan, Wright announced several of his presidential initiatives that he wants to occur this year along with the regular programming. Some of those initiatives include a Commencement Ball, a Best Man on Campus Competition, The Big Event, a High School Leadership Conference, the Hornet Food Truck Festival and October Awareness Month.

The Commencement Ball, as explained by Wright acts as an opportunity to provide the seniors a time to kick back and reflect on their time at ASU in an elegant environment to celebrate their accomplishments.

Noticing the increasing number of pageants for women on the campus, UPAAB’s Best Man on Campus Competition is designed to place a positive light on the men of the campus.

The High School Leadership Conference is a way to connect the “best and brightest” high school student leaders with ASU through leadership training and workshops.

“In recent years the NFL has strayed away from focusing just on breast cancer and taken a holistic approach in spreading awareness regarding several diseases, and I would like for UPAAB to follow in that same direction,” Wright said.
He continued, commenting on why he has taken this position regarding the month of October.

“On a personal note, I lost my father to sickle cell anemia in 2009, so this month will be very important to me in regards to affliction awareness on campus,” Wright said. “This initiative was created to acknowledge and educate the student body on the afflictions that commonly plague the black community. Across the campus many of our students may have loved ones who suffer from diseases or may suffer themselves.”

Despite a number of vacancies at the director and assistant director level, UPAAB is moving forward and hiring new students to fill each of those vacancies gradually.

“While we want to be fully staffed, we want to ensure that the people that we bring on are truly interested in what we are trying to do and have bought into our vision,” Wright said.

He believes that one of the major challenges that they may face is low attendance at many of the educational and informative events.

“Low attendance has consistently acted as a challenge for UPAAB.” However, after talking to some students and hearing complaints such as ‘We did not know about the event,’ or ‘The topic was not interesting,’ Wright plans to change the narrative with better marketing, longer advertising and instructional incentives.

“We have a great executive vice president for marketing and advertising and I am sure that she will find a way to ensure that students are aware of the events and are encouraged to come to the events,” Wright said.

Another idea that has been considered is asking instructors and professors to incentivize our forums and offer attendance as extra credit opportunities if the topic relates to the course that they are teaching.”

Some of Wright’s executive team include Tyler Rice, Shalyn Brown, Trentqual Rhone, Aaron K. Brown, Elyssia Omniessence, and Kristen Brown.

UPAAB developed 20 categories under programming and activities in which 20 directors will preside over, to ensure that each activity or program is addressed.

As an integral part of campus life, Wright and his team hopes to ensure that they are doing everything they can do make sure students have a say in the activities and overall experience a good time during their time at ASU.

“There are a few executive positions open for students to fill such as executive assistant to the president, executive vice president for finance and fundraising, and the executive vice president for digital communications and media,” Wright said.

He invites all students to be part of an organization that is revolutionizing activities, programs and events to apply. According to Wright, employment applications are available in the UPAAB office on the second floor of the John Garrick Hardy Center.