Record-setting events and campus-wide celebrations marked a memorable year, as all clubs inside of Taylor Student Organization played their part.
Over the course of the year, TSO has remained committed to giving the student body ample opportunity to showcase talent or simply spend time in community.
Stephen Austin, associate dean of student leadership and director of student programs, is finishing his 22nd year at Taylor and has seen a cultural and creative shift on campus.
“Part of my role is to create within the mission of Taylor and within the mission of each (student leadership) cabinet or give opportunity for students to create and add to our campus culture in really good and wonderful ways,” Austin said.
Reduced COVID-19 precautions and safety protocols led to increased participation in some of the year’s marquee events including Airband and Nostalgia Night. For instance, Airband, which was hosted in Rediger Auditorium, had a record number of performers at nearly 340.
New additions such as the President’s Ball, a pre-inauguration dance for President Michael Lindsay on Oct. 2, and Fireside Festival, a student talent concert at Bond Plaza over Homecoming weekend, were quickly embraced by the student body.
Ice Cream Social, a first-week tradition and Student Activities Council sponsored event, kicked off the year with close to 1,500 students in attendance.
MyGen, also a SAC-run affair, followed on Oct. 30. Students performed their own renditions of songs from 1999 to present day. President of SAC the past two years, senior Rebecca Wright, said the whole Student Center was covered in homemade Halloween-themed decorations. She said MyGen’s ticket sales normally out perform Nostalgia Night but this year the opposite was true.
Though planning and the actual events are memorable, Wright said her favorite part comes after the proceedings and cleanup.
“(Our cabinet) just talked about things that went well and (shouted) people out and just kind of (had) a little moment together,” Wright said. “It’s just really great to see it all come together and then just to share how proud we are of each other for doing it.”
Integration of Faith and Culture orchestrated its premiere event, Fabrica, on Nov. 13 in the Euler Atrium. Only in its third year, the fashion showcase has grown from hosting 250 students to over 400 this year. According to Austin, roughly 70 models participated.
Fashion categories were the following: concert fits, decades (70s, 80s, etc.), experimental, film/TV icons, heritage (celebrate outfits from other cultures) and streetwear. Austin said some models mix and matched their clothing, while others curated their own outfits from scratch.
Those who stayed for Fabrica’s afterparty were the first to receive IFC’s annual magazine, “Collide,” a collaboration of stories written by cabinet members.
Senior Sophie Olson, president of IFC, said the club’s mission is to provide programming for students that engages with popular culture. Though Fabrica has moved from spring to fall the past two years, Olson said she sees it continually growing and accomplishing IFC’s goal.
Moving into the spring semester, Nostalgia Night was held in Rediger Auditorium on Feb. 26 where 14 acts performed songs from before 1999. This year’s theme was “‘50s Diner” and ticket sales exceeded 900.
Wright said that its success was in large part due to advertisement and promos created by Birrama Creative, a student-led media group on campus.
On April 2, the 37th Airband was presented by Inter-Class Council, having two showtimes for the night. The famous lip-sync and dance competition sold nearly 1,700 tickets between the showings. A rendition of “The Emperor’s New Groove” stood out in Austin’s memory as an example of how storied films can be told even without their original music.
An official recap of Airband 2022 is posted on Taylor University’s YouTube page, while a few performances are available to the public via other users.
“Each group has nine to 12 songs, which is kind of unprecedented, but most people think that’s routine now,” Austin said. “It likely is, but that’s shifted and the way that they tell narratives.”
As IFC has done throughout the year, they hosted free movie screenings for all students, most recently “Ratatouille” on April 30. Olson said they showed an indie film entitled “Freshman Year” on April 8 and she was pleasantly surprised with the turnout, especially on a Friday night.
“Across the board, everyone afterwards was like, ‘I like this movie. I want to show it to all my friends,’” Olson said. “That is what I wanted … That’s probably one of my favorite memories aside from Fabrica.”
SAC will be partnering with the Counseling Center for “Pops and Pups” on May 17, a finals week de-stress event combining popsicles and dogs.