Ludacris, Third Eye Blind, Ryan Cabrera and Wiz Khalifa have all visited Youngstown State University over the past eight years — all of this thanks to YSU’s Penguin Productions student organization.
Since fall 2006, Penguin Productions’ mission has been to tie in YSU with the community. From promoting and coordinating concerts, tailgates and promotions throughout the year, the group has brought in nearly 2,000 people to each of their events. The organization also gives members a chance to network, meet and get experience of planning various events.
Taylor Garland, coordinator for Penguin Productions, said that even though she has been with the group for two years, she is honored to work with the board of students.
“I encourage everyone to apply at the end of the year,” Garland said. “We like to have fun and tie in the community with YSU the best we can.
With a yearly 75,000-dollar budget, the Penguin Productions board members begin their search for recording artists to bring to campus during the summer. The group will budget for two big events for the year–one in the fall and one in the spring.
Garland said that when the committee begins the brainstorming process, the group keeps in mind what they think YSU students would want to see in an event.
“Basically, we first discuss what kind of event or artist people want to see. Then we brainstorm and come up with a bunch of different artists that we think fit in the category that we are planning on,” Garland said. “Then from there we work with a middle man or through other connections and see who is in our price range. After we narrow that down we see who is actually available and willing to come here and perform.”
Garland also said whenever she helps plan an event, she always looks to see if students are having fun with friends or smiling.
Within the past year, the group has tried to steer away from their traditional concerts they have had in the past and branch into new and unique ideas for their events. Two of which have been the Live on Lincoln, the May Day Block party and the Fall Fire Fest, where the group held a homecoming bonfire and a performance by country artist, Josh Kelley.
Garland said that the group has been trying to branch out more because they don’t want students to expect the same thing every concert the group will put on.
“We wanted to do something different. At LOL [Live on Lincoln], we had a great turnout and people asked if we were going to do another different event like that,” she said. “ So then we thought about combining our country theme event with the homecoming bonfire. We figured something new and exciting would attract more students and get their attention….and it did.”
Taylor Greathouse, YSU sophomore and nursing major, said that this is her first year on the board and that she loves working on planning events.
“It’s different from anything I have ever done,” Greathouse said. “In order to put on the events, there’s so many different behind the scenes things that go on that many people don’t realize. It’s really fun to watch it all come together!”
As for the future, Garland says the group hasn’t officially announced what their plans for a concert are for spring, but they are in the process of planning something big.
“You all will just have to wait and see! Keep an eye out for little teasers and save the dates soon on our social networks” Garland said. “It’s in the works now and it’s gonna be really awesome. I think it is one of our best events yet.”