Comedian Mike Birbiglia is one of the in-person talents the Student Entertainment Committee will host this year. Photo from nypost.com.

After over a year of navigating the remote world, the University of Rhode Island’s Student Entertainment Committee (SEC) is planning to bring new in-person events to campus for this upcoming year.

The events will kick off immediately on Sept. 5, with comedian Mike Birbiglia coming to the Ryan Center for Welcome Week, with a concert from Playboy Carti being announced for December 16th.

“He will be fully in-person, and you can buy tickets online through the Ryan Center’s website,” said Alexa Potamianos, SEC’s administrative secretary.

To stay in accordance with the updated campus mandates, all indoor events will require masks to be worn by attendees.

Last year, all major SEC events, such as concerts and talks from guest speakers, were hosted online. Some guest artists included pop star Jason Derulo and actors Terry Crews (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) and Hunter Schaffer (“Euphoria”).

The SEC is planning for upcoming events featuring various performers and guests, however they will be waiting until students get back on campus so they can have a say in who is chosen for the events.

“We don’t have any names solidified yet,” said Nathan Believau-Robinson, the president of the VIP committee of SEC. “A lot of the committees will start the planning process when we get to campus as it is really student-orientated, so the students who come to the meetings ultimately make that decision.”

The SEC said that outside of the mask mandate, no other indoor restrictions are currently outlined, although they acknowledged that the current policy is fluid and things could change quickly. 

Believau-Robinson is excited that meetings will be in person as well, as it will help the students become closer and increase involvement, something that was harder for both organizations and students last year with remote meetings.

The committee is also planning outdoor events, which are not currently slated to have restrictions, although they also depend on the University’s policies.

“In years past, we’ve done movies on the football field; that’s certainly in the works. We have the daytime-distractions with [opportunities to make your own stuffed animals or goodie bags with provided goods],” Believau-Robinson said in reference to the things to expect throughout the semester. 

These events have always been popular with students, and are just some of the things the committee has planned so far, according to Believau-Robinson.

Their focus this year is on providing new experiences for both the freshman and sophomore classes who have yet to feel all URI and SEC has to offer.

However, with the delta variant of COVID-19 rising across the country, the committee is also making sure to consider people who may not be comfortable going back to in-person events. 

“There were some successful online events last year that had a lot of support; a lot of people attended them,” said Believau-Robinson. “Usually they are more cost effective and easier to set up since they are not in person. I think it is definitely something we could do.”

The amount of money that the committee has to spend is determined by the acts of the year, but Believau-Robinson promises that the SEC will be putting on “great events” for the student body.

The club has multiple meetings throughout the week depending on the certain committees, and the club is based in Memorial Union room 208.