crowd holding up glow sticks

What’s it like to help plan a free concert for UIC students? One word: crazy.


A lot of people have asked me what it’s like to be help plan UIC’s largest event, Spark. The answer to that question can simply be described by one word – crazy. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes that the average guest does not know about. Honestly, there’s so much behind the scenes work, that we could probably make a mini-series on MTV.

By being a part of the first-ever student committee of Spark, there was plenty of things to get adjusted to in order to maintain the success of the event. Six students took the lead of managing the production of the event, marketing, and other aspects of the event. I will talk about my experience with leading the marketing focus of Spark, along with Pearl Shin.

With an event that has such a high prestige among students at UIC and among the state, the marketing usually works out for itself, but this year was different. By going in a different direction with the headliner twenty one pilots, we had to manage the responses on social media and take the beautiful with the ugly. Managing such a renowned social media page was a thrill in itself. Along with a different committee, we helped distribute VIP passes to meet twenty one pilots and Wale. It was amazing seeing all of the tears, laughter and excitement when students found out that they were meeting their favorite artist in person, but the job was not done yet.

The day of Spark was very fun. Seeing the crowd rush to the floor and hearing the sound check of all three performers was exhilarating. Although I must say that my favorite part was going on stage and talking in front of thousands of students. I was convinced that we were going to get booed, but surprisingly, we did not get that much of a reaction. I saw different people waving at me, taking pictures and cheering. It was at the moment that I realized that I was a superstar.

Being a part of Spark was such a memorable moment that I will never forget; and it was all because of UIC’s Campus Programs. At the event I was able to go back stage, meet one of the chillest rappers, Wale, and talk with hundreds of students. The party keeps going for me as I continue to work with the UIC Student Activities Board (#UICSAB).


Christian GrayChristian Gray is a senior majoring in marketing with a focus in promotion and communications and a minor in economics. He is president of the Student Activities Board. When he’s not planning events or doing schoolwork, you’ll catch him watching something sports related (#KOBE) or vibing out to music. His career goal growing up was to be Batman. He won’t tell you if he was successful on that mission, but let’s be real ­– have you ever seen him and Batman in the same place before?

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