Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

SAO leans into tradition with “robust” concert series

A poster for an upcoming SAO concert
A poster for an upcoming SAO concert

After an assessment performed by Calvin’s Campus Involvement and Leadership office (CIL), Calvin’s student activities office (SAO) is spreading out seven concerts throughout the semester, as opposed to last year when seven shows occurred in the first six weeks of school.

Many colleges have student activity offices, but the CIL assessment discovered one of Calvin SAO’s unique strengths. “One of the things that the SAO has done that almost no other Christian university or college is doing in the United States is have a concert series as robust as ours,” Jake Droppers, SAO director, said. Through this assessment, it was determined that the emphasis on concert quality “is really important to the culture of Calvin and of who we are as an institution.” 

The next big show at Calvin this year will be GRAMMY award-winning folk singer Madison Cunningham, set to perform Friday, September 15. Droppers told Chimes that “she’s going to sell out New York, she’s going to sell out Toronto. . . I think that Calvin students will look back in four years, and be like, ‘I can’t believe she played there while I was there.’” 

Droppers wants students to know that “just because you don’t know someone’s name now doesn’t mean you’re not going to look back in four years and not know their name.” 

But concerts are not the only thing the Calvin SAO brings to Calvin. In order to engage students in popular culture and build community, the SAO focuses on three things: concerts, movies and weekend programming like the fall formal, Calvin’s Got Talent and dodgeball tournaments. The goal of these events, according to Droppers, is “for students to see that the whole of their lives can be educational and formational. Participating in a dodgeball tournament, like going to class, is a part of their spiritual formation here at Calvin.”

Calvin’s SAO has been dealing with what Droppers called the “COVID hangover.” 

“Students. . . and I would say the general public, are less willing to go to something that they’re not sure what they’re getting,” Droppers said, which last year led to unpredictable attendance. Some events were attended well, while others were not. The shift in concert scheduling is an attempt to level or increase that attendance. 

Sophomore Cami Mauriello was excited to hear that the SAO would be showing “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” on Friday, September 8. Mauriello went to the Bleacher’s concert last year, and commented that it was “really well organized, very fun, very smooth.” 

Over Labor Day weekend, the SAO held a rootbeer kegger with James Gardin and The Skinny Limbs. As the SAO had opened up submissions for anyone in Michigan to apply to perform, Droppers said about 80 people had applied to perform at this event. “The Super Mario Bros Movie ” was also shown over Labor Day weekend. 

Droppers advocates for students to go to a concert at some point in their college careers, but he also advises students to “figure out how to create your own fun.”

“College is an invitation to figure out: what does it look like to have fun as an adult and to view that as a part of your life,” said Droppers.


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