The Fall semester of the Events Management Practicum course produces The Fresh Connect, an event that celebrates Hip-Hop talent on campus and in the Chicago community. Junior Ruiz, a senior Music Business major with a focus in live and touring, is serving on this year’s Marketing Team for the event.
Tell us a little more about The Fresh Connect and its history.
The Fresh Connect is an event that Columbia College Chicago’s Events Management practicum course holds every year. It started out as a launch event for the Hip-Hop studies minor back in 2017. Since then, The Fresh Connect has become an established celebration for all of Columbia and its intersections with the Hip-Hop community. From organizing to the actual showcasing, our team comes together to connect amazing fresh talent, professionals, and supporters in the Hip-Hop culture.
What can we expect from The Fresh Connect, Volume IV?
I’m very honored to be a part of The Fresh Connect, Volume IV! What people can expect from this event is our team connecting the Hip-Hop history from past to present. We are showcasing the five pillars based around the culture: Graffiti, MCing, DJing, Breaking, and Knowledge. This will be a two-day, livestreamed event. Our first event is a panel called “Each One Teach One,” where we will highlight old school and new school professionals. Our second event is an Exhibition Showcase where we will feature a variety of talent from dance groups, producers, and emcees.
What challenges have the Marketing Team faced while planning this event during the coronavirus pandemic?
Planning The Fresh Connect during a pandemic has been interesting to say the least. One of the biggest challenges is adapting to changes whenever they may happen. You always need a backup plan for your plan. A lot of our content relies on being digital now. It’s safe for folks, and that’s been super demanding on the team. I’m grateful that I’m working alongside others who have the same vision, so that has helped a lot when collaborating. We are constantly brainstorming new ways to keep our dedicated audience coming back every year, and to also amplify that and bring in new folks too. Luckily enough, I’ve been able to maneuver around these kinds of situations.
How have your previous classes at Columbia College Chicago prepared you for these challenges?
Adapting to different environments and last-minute changes has always been a theme in the live entertainment industry, pandemic or not! A lot of my courses helped me understand that you just have to be prepared in any situation. Coming out of my own comfort zone to do that is another too, and a lot of my past professors to now have helped me with that.
Where can people go to stay up to date with The Fresh Connect?
You can stay up to date with The Fresh Connect on these platforms: