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Records of Student Entertainment Events (SEE) records

 Collection 0135-UA
Student Entertainment Events (SEE) is a student-run organization responsible for the promotion of musical performances, speakers, and cultural events at the University of Maryland. The organization was formally established by the Student Government Association in 1977 in an effort to centralize funding for student-sponsored events and to ensure equal representation of campus groups. The records primarily contain event contracts, financial records, personal correspondence, photographs, and promotional materials that document the activities of SEE and its predecessor, the University Program Board (1972-1976).

Dates

  • 1969-2012 and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1970-1984

Use and Access to Collection

Materials of a sensitive nature, such as those containing personally identifiable information, are restricted for 75 years or the life of the individual and may by screened and removed by special collections staff. Please speak with a staff member if you believe that materials have been unnecessarily removed.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Extent

6.25 Linear Feet (6.25 linear feet, 235 photographs, and 189 items)

6.25 Linear Feet

235 Photographs

189 Items

Scope and Content of Collection

The Student Entertainment Events (SEE) records date from 1969 to 2012, with the bulk of the materials covering the years 1970 to 1984. The collection includes contracts and riders, financial records, correspondence, stage diagrams, personnel lists, newspaper clippings, posters, ticket stubs, promotional materials, photographs, negatives, and memorabilia representing events SEE sponsored.

Administrative History

Prior to the 1970s, arrangements for student-sponsored events at the University of Maryland were largely the responsibility of the Student Government Association. Campus organizations petitioned the student board on an ad-hoc basis to secure funding for what generally amounted to small, locally publicized events.

In the fall of 1972, the University of Maryland Student Government Association proposed the creation of a representative, campus-wide organizational committee to contract with performing artists and promote concerts on campus. The resulting University Program Board (UPD), however, was riddled with debt and mismanagement almost from its inception. UPD efforts to book popular artists were constantly undermined by the competing, alumni-led M Club, which received questionable discounted rentals and labor from the Department of Physical Plant. The opening of the nearby Capital Centre in 1973 also siphoned students away from the sub-par acoustics and cozy atmosphere of Cole Field House. High facilities costs, poor concert attendance, and mediocre acts resulted in nearly $60,000 in debts by January 1976. The group's financial woes were further compounded by heated internal power struggles and failed attempts to compete with big-name promoters, eventually leading to its demise in the summer of 1976.

From the remains of the defunct UPD emerged the restructured Student Entertainment Enterprises (SEE) in fall 1977. The entirely student-run group, however, promptly over-extended its funds and failed to turn a profit in its first twelve months. Amidst renewed accusations of financial mismanagement, then-SGA president Jordan Fox reluctantly initiated an extensive, year-long search for a non-student advisor to oversee the concert panel, resulting in the hire of Michael Jaworek, an experienced campus entertainment specialist. Jaworek was tasked with re-engineering SEE productions and providing continuity for the organization. Within the year, the group abandoned its free concerts on McKeldin Mall for smaller, more lucrative acts. Employment of contracted promoters and stage managers, rather than campus advertisement and production teams, allowed SEE to overcome the competition offered by the Capital Centre and secure guaranteed revenue in the event of poor attendance.

While the majority of early SEE productions tended to emphasize popular musical acts, the organization quickly began to expand its domain to include other aspects of the performing arts and guest speakers. Under the leadership of Jaworek, SEE initiated the Cultural Attractions and Lecture Series in 1980 as an effort to promote fine arts entertainment at Tawes Theater. Although initially focused on jazz music, dance performances, and lectures, the series was quickly enlarged to include theatrical presentations and literary readings. Diversity in SEE productions during the early 1980s was matched by increased attention from a variety of campus groups, in particular the Black Student Union (BSU) and Jewish Student Union (JSU). As student organizations became increasingly verbal about public figures and entertainers whom they wished to appear on campus, SEE often found itself in a mediatory role, juggling concerns of special interest groups to ensure equal representation, and frequently partnered and pooled funds with the BSU and JSU as well as other student organizations to sponsor events.

Despite its enlarged student program board and dramatic push to expand campus programming, SEE remained weak both financially and administratively. Accusations of corruption and irresponsibility in March 1984 prompted an SGA task force investigation of the organization's financial transactions. Confronted with evidence of incomplete records and accumulated debts, SGA terminated SEE funding and dissolved the group later that month. In its place was thrust the restructured Student Entertainment Agency (SEA), a three-branch organization consisting of a representative programming council, an SGA-governed board of directors, and a group of special events sub-committees. On May 14, 1984, the SGA allocated $69,000 to SEA for the following year and agreed to allow the organization to return to the name Student Entertainment Enterprises by the summer. Within the next five years, SEE would again alter its name, this time to Student Entertainment Events.

In May 1985, SEE announced its first Art Attack, a large-scale production involving university talent and contracted performers. Held on the McKeldin Library "stage," Art Attack was initially billed as a spring celebration that would feature culturally diverse music, food, and dance. Despite the mediocre nature of its earlier acts, Art Attack quickly emerged as a headline performance attraction, featuring such notables as the Fugees, the Beastie Boys, and George Clinton. It has since become a signature feature of SEE concert programming.

Cole Field House, once the home of many SEE concerts, was abandoned in favor of the less expensive and more freely available Ritchie Coliseum. Increasing competition from the university athletics department and concerns over possible floor damage to Cole contributed to an eight-year hiatus in SEE's use of the popular facility until it was again made available in 1996.

The organization continued to uphold its reputation for diversity and innovation as it introduced a dynamic series of guest lectures in 1991 and expanded its activities beyond university borders with a student retreat to Middleburg, Virginia. Since then, SEE has ambitiously expanded its yearly programming efforts to include over one hundred independent and co-sponsored events. Once focused exclusively on musical entertainment, the organization now extends its arms to charitable events, orientations, and other campus gatherings. Recent activities have included the annual 5K Terp Trot charity race, Art Attack, a Homecoming comedy show, New Resident Orientation, and promotional listening parties, among others.

Arrangement

The collection is organized in five series.
Series 1
Administrative Records
Series 2
Photographs
Series 3
Memorabilia
Series 4
Scrapbooks
Series 5
Posters and Oversize Material

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries received the records of the Student Entertainment Events (SEE) on July 28, 2005, from Steve Mencarini, a coordinator in the Office of Campus Programs at the Stamp Student Union. Laura Barrantes, a coordinator in the Program Office in the Stamp Student Union who worked closely with Student Entertainment Events, transferred additional SEE records on July 2, 2008, September 9, 2009, May 11, 2010, June 30, 2011, July 3, 2012, and September 14, 2012.

Related Material

For information about additional SEE productions, events, and staff members, consult http://www.see.umd.edu; the student newspaper, the Diamondback; and Unwind, a magazine produced by the students of the College Park Scholars' Media, Self, and Society program. The University Publications collection contains a small number of items from both Student Entertainment Enterprises (UPUB S27) and Student Entertainment Events (UPUB S64). Items found under the earlier name include an April 1990 Art Attack VII program and flyers for the Cultural Attractions and Lecture Series of 1980-1981 and 1981-1982. Materials found under UPUB S64 include flyers for the annual 5K Terrapin Trot race, newsletters, brochures, and forms used in the administration of SEE.

Three other collections in the University of Maryland contain materials relating to SEE: the Records of the Department of Theatre (Acc. 2008-008-UA, an audio recording of Steve Martin's performance in 1977), the Records of the Stamp Union Program Council (Acc. 2009-021-UA, scrapbooks documenting the activities of the predecessor to SEE), and the Records of the Student Government Association (Acc. 2006-043-UA, Box 11, two files on SEE and its concert committee, circa late 1990s).

The Library Media Services unit of the University of Maryland Libraries holds videotapes of two 1987 SEE-sponsored activities, a debate about drugs and an event featuring Hunter Thompson.

Processing Information

The records of Student Entertainment Events have been placed in acid-free folders and boxes. Metallic clips and other metal fasteners have been removed and replaced with plastic clips over strips of acid-free paper. Newspaper clippings were photocopied onto acid-free paper and discarded. Acid-free paper was interleaved between documents that appeared to be made of acidic paper. Obviously misfiled items were moved to their proper place, and duplicate copies of documents were discarded.

Folders with significant materials from multiple events have been separated into their own respective folders and dated accordingly. Duplicate folders have been consolidated into one or more consecutively labeled folders as needed. Oversize items, photographs, and memorabilia have been removed and placed into their own folder or appropriate container. Separation sheets detailing the items removed have been inserted into their original folders.

Photographs have been placed in inert plastic sleeves and inserted in photograph binders.

Restricted documents have been pulled from their original folders and placed in separate boxes so that patrons can view the files in which these documents were originally found. A sheet of acid-free paper with a brief notation denotes the original place of these restricted documents in the folders.
Title
Guide to the Student Entertainment Events (SEE) records
Status
Completed
Author
Christopher Hartten.
Date
2005-08-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212