The URI Student Entertainment Committee has worked to create new events during the pandemic and will be virtually hosting Jason Derulo. Photo from rottentomatoes.com.

The University of Rhode Island’s Student Entertainment Committee (SEC) has felt the effects of the pandemic on their membership and event planning, but have managed to put on multiple virtual and smaller in-person events for students to enjoy.

SEC is a student-run organization that plans different events on campus such as concerts, comedy shows, presentations and lectures. They are a self-described “organization which provides the URI campus and community with diverse, broad-based programming that, in addition to increasing cultural awareness, informs, educates and entertains.”

URI students have been encouraged to participate in the events over the past year to generate a more positive atmosphere during the pandemic. 

“SEC provided me with the stability I needed to get out of the COVID funk,” said senior Naleen Camara, the organization’s retention and recruitment chair. “It helped maintain the normalcy of a typical school year.”

Camara’s role is to keep the morale up and maintain steady communication with members of the committee. 

“A lot of our general membership consists of first-year students,” said Camara. “They haven’t been in the loop of things due to the pandemic, which took a huge hit on our numbers.” 

Many events the SEC had planned for this year included food truck festivals, movie nights and carnival games, all of which had to be rescheduled according to Camara. One of the biggest events, Springfest, consisting of many interactive activities is currently being hosted under COVID-19 restrictions. 

“We continue to have our typical activities,” Camara said, “just modified for a COVID-friendly environment.”

The committee has been following practices of pre-packaging goods for students and allowing as many participants for events as they can while following the capacity regulations.

On March 24, the committee hosted one of their biggest events this year, a virtual conversation with model, activist and actress Hunter Schafer, best known for her role in HBO’s “Euphoria.” 

Scheduling events virtually has been a challenge, especially when it comes to planning larger events. The SEC just recently announced singer Jason Derulo will be coming to URI for a virtual concert on April 18.  

“The committee I am involved in, VIP, fell into a great rhythm of shouting out names for a list and discussing who would be the most popular among the student body,” said Alexa Potamianos, vice president of the VIP subcommittee.

Derulo, most known for his singing, has also created a platform on TikTok making him a hit. But with the pandemic, the concert will be held virtually with a capacity of 1,000 URI students and community members. 

Communication between the presidents of each subcommittee, advisors and agencies is what’s most important for ensuring virtual events are set up correctly, according to Potamianos. 

“There has definitely been a lot of success with the committee’s virtual events,” said Potamianos. “I am so excited for next year.” 

COVID-19 has made the planning of events more difficult, but the SEC has high hopes for next year and plans to hold in-person events. 

“As a first-year student, I have not experienced the comradery of a live show at the Ryan Center, but I have heard it is electric,” Potamianos said. 

To stay updated and register for SEC’s events, visit their Instagram page @urisec.