Culture Night showcases the hard work clubs have put into their performances, and the entire production would not be possible without all the students working behind the scenes, said Savaira Veikoso, a senior from Fiji majoring in business management, who is the student manager of Clubs in the Student Leadership and Service Department.
“We are accustomed to thinking it is only for the cultural clubs, but we forget that the definition of culture is the way of life for a group of people,” said Veikoso.
She added one of the aspects of preparing for this year’s Culture Night was making it more inclusive for all clubs. For example, this year the Pickleball Club performed along with the cultural clubs.
Student Leadership, Media Productions, the Service Center, Seasider Sports & Activities, Office of Honor, Campus Safety and Security, Media Productions, University Communications and other departments have been preparing since the end of last year for Culture Night.
Many of these departments are student-run and Veikoso said they all must work together to put Culture Night together and ensure it runs smoothly.
Meet the directors of Culture Night
Those in Student Leadership were the directors of Culture Night. They coordinated all the tasks, ensuring other departments worked together and ensuring whomever was assigned to specific jobs got it done. They helped clubs find places to practice, coordinated the photoshoots and videos to show at Culture Night, put together the advertising for Culture Night and more.
There are eight club leadership team supervisors as part of Student Leadership, and each person was assigned eight clubs to supervise. Veikoso said these students worked tirelessly to ensure their clubs were prepared to perform on Culture Night.
Student Leadership worked closely with Media Productions to create the videos played prior to each clubs’ performance. Conor Lunt, Media Productions manager and a BYU–Hawaii alumnus, said the videos allowed each club to “share any special meanings behind their performance.”
In the weeks leading up to Culture Night, Veikoso said, mediation is a vital part of their job. During this stressful preparation period, she said it can be challenging to work through disagreements. Veikoso said, “We have to be comfortable with making uncomfortable decisions.”
She said this is often emotionally draining because they did not want decisions to affect their relationships with their peers. But she said as a team they prayed about important decisions and counseled together on how best to move forward and benefit all students.
“I’m very grateful for my team and our department. It’s not easy … We’ve seen his [the Lord’s] hand a lot in our work.
“Culture Night is meant to be, and it’s going to happen, and it’s meant for everyone to come together,” Veikoso shared.
Meet the behind-the-scenes volunteers
The Service Center worked behind the scenes with the help of over a dozen clubs that volunteered to help. The clubs and those working at the Service Center ushered, cleaned and swept the stage, monitored the changing rooms, helped with check-in and conducted bag checks.
Sydney Gwilliam, a senior from Utah majoring in business management, who is a Service Center supervisor, said some of these clubs included: Professional Accounting, Embody Love, Real Estate and Pickleball.
The Service Center began holding evening training meetings during the Fall 2021 Semester to ensure the volunteering clubs knew their roles. Gwilliam said the months of planning, training is all worth it because, “We just love seeing our students have a great time and helping to live up the traditions of this wonderful university.”
Meet the team behind the broadcast and tech
Media Productions’ team of 15 people were in charge of broadcasting Culture Night for everyone to view. They operated cameras, worked on graphics, did video control and more. Lunt said both Culture Nights were broadcast from its TV studio. Four hours before Culture Night began, the team met to set up cameras, run cables, go through graphics, troubleshoot any potential technical issues and complete a test run. Lunt said the most challenging part of Culture Night is anticipating any technical issues that may arise in the middle of the show.
“Broadcasts are fun for our team, but it can be a high-stress environment when equipment doesn’t work properly.” He said Media Productions puts all its effort into making sure the timing for each performance is correct so it’s less stressful for the clubs. •