Meet the Staff: Tyler

April 28, 2017

Tyler Hicks

Hometown: Richmond, VA

Major: Camp & Outdoor Leadership/Youth Ministry

One Thing: Harvard was my safety school.

Why Student Activities? I joined SA so I could have a direct helping hand in creating community and unity in the student body and provide a great student experience.

How long at SA? First semester

A Moment with Stevie Nicks

April 27, 2017

There’s always that moment of anticipation before an artist/band steps on stage - that long moment after the background music goes silent and the lights dim and everyone in the room quickly realizes what is about to happen. Soon, what they have only listened to will be seen, and what they will see they will feel.

I have experienced many of these moments in my life, but none of them felt as long as the moment before I saw Stevie Nicks. As the lights dimmed in the PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC on March 19, 2017, I knew that the singer from Fleetwood Mac was about to step on the stage. For the first time in my life, I would see an artist that felt like home to me.

Stevie’s music has guided me in so many ways throughout my life. Of course, my parents are the reason I have a love for Stevie and Fleetwood Mac and even Buckingham-Nicks, the duo in which Stevie began her career. As a teen, I remember hearing the lines "“Thunder only happens when it’s rainin’ / Players only love you when they’re playin’” from the song “Dreams” and realizing that I was really, truly in love with music and the feeling it exudes. As my sister turned 15 and danced on a stage with my dad at her quinceañera, I listened to Stevie ask herself if she could “sail through the changin’ ocean tides?” and “Can I handle the seasons of my life?” from “Landslide” and I asked myself the same questions.

Stevie Nicks, singer/songwriter extraordinaire, is turning 69 this year on May 26, but she dances across a stage as though she’s 25. Her feet are as light and airy as her beloved and iconic fringe shawl that hugs her shoulders. She is a fairy, a youthful soul, a “gold dust woman”. Her steps are much lighter than her writing is – she’s spent the past 50 years writing about love, lust, pain, tragedy and everything in between.

When an artist’s words have a profound impact on you from a young age, that artist becomes familiar to you, like an old friend. And sometimes, you have a moment with that artist that, unbeknownst to them, changes you. Watching Stevie dance around the stage was that moment for me – it’s the moment we all wait for when we see an artist we love. It’s the reason why we anticipate an artist coming on stage; we expect the artist to give us an experience we haven’t encountered before. Thanks to Stevie, I had that experience on March 19, 2017.

Preview: Passengers & Rogue One

April 20, 2017

The next Student Activities Double Feature Movie Night is boldly going where no Double Feature Movie Night has gone before, and that is really saying something since it doesn’t even involve Star Trek. Just tap into your sense of adventure, maybe unearth a willingness to get damp pants and/or grass stains, and then come to the Dorm 28 fields on Saturday, April 29. If you can do that, staring at a screen for five hours should be a piece of cake. This is what you will stare at:

  • Passengersstarting at 9 PM
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – starting approx. 11:10 PM

Without digging too deep, you may get the impression that the point of Passengers (released December 21, 2016), at least for the first act or so, is to show everyone Chris Pratt’s butt. Dig a little deeper and you realize Passengers is really about a condition all of humanity may have to confront someday: space loneliness, which, as the movie reveals, is very similar to regular loneliness. This precipitates the natural question any viewer of this movie should ask: If faced with a similar situation as Pratt’s character Jim Preston, would you, or could you, do what he does? Is he a drowning man, as Gus Mancuso (Laurence Fishburne) suggests, or a murderer as Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) insists?  Beyond this, the movie presents a clear picture of the limits of technology to meet human needs; it offers no lasting, meaningful substitute for human interaction, and in the case of the passengers aboard Starship Avalon, may not be able to offer the safety or protection it espouses. As for the romance of the story, you can judge for yourself whether the movie does an effective job making the case for Aurora and Jim to live happily ever after. Overall, Passengers is just fine, and it should make for some exciting viewing (hopefully) under the stars.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (released December 16, 2016) shows exactly why fans are looking forward to every release in this third phase of the Star Wars franchise. From the moment the classic Star Wars text crawl does not move up the screen, Rogue One sets itself apart from the existing set of movies while still managing to feel like it belongs in the establish movie canon. The visuals and cinematography feel more stately, perhaps less cartoonish, than the other movies, certainly one of the distinguishing touches of newcomer to the series, director Gareth Edwards (who directed the most recent Godzilla movie in 2014). Specifically, there are several scenes that accomplish this in casting the looming shadow of the empire: the presence of star destroyers, whether hovering over Jedha or slowly emerging from the darkness of the Death Star, or the massive presence of Darth Vader in scenes on Mustafar and in pursuit of the Death Star plans aboard the Rebel flagship. This is in contrast to the one word that drives the Rebellion, heard several times throughout the movie, most notably from CGI Princess Leia at its conclusion: hope. Felicity Jones is outstanding as Jyn Erso and K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) is a perfect addition to the already great list of Star Wars robots.

Just so you know, Passengers is rated PG-13 for “sexuality, nudity, and action/peril”, the “sexuality” and “nudity” of which we will “tone down”. Rogue One, for some reason, is also rated PG-13, but for “extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action”. Maybe there should be something more like PG-10 or PG-11 for movies like Rogue One.

This event is FREE to attend and we will have FREE popcorn and cheap snacks and drinks available. You see how serious we are about this with the all-caps. If you have any questions, email us:

La La Land: A Conversation/Preview

April 13, 2017


She’s Erin, a millennial by age, but with the soul of a millennial who thinks she’s Zooey Deschanel.

He’s Brian, a Gen-X’er who thinks anything made after 1998 is pure, hot garbage.

Let’s look at what at each of them say about La La Land in a very special Outdoor Movie Night Preview!


Brian – Hello, Erin. Let’s talk about La La Land. I’m sorry, I mean, let’s talk about La La Land: Brought to you by the makers of Fancy Cocktail Dresses and the All-New Toyota Prius.

Erin – Hello, Brian. I, along with most of the rest of the world, really liked La La Land, so I hope you’re not making fun of it.

B – No, of course not. The first big question is: What is this movie’s deal?

E - You know, the typical “musical romance” movie deal. Boy meets girl. Girl asks boy to perform “I Ran”. Boy leaves girl for jazz career ft. John Legend. Girl marries a dork. THE END!

B - Great synopsis. Where is the eyeroll emoticon? What I mean is, do you think this movie is as “great” or even as “very good” as all the hype? I mean, come on. FOURTEEN Academy Award nominations? ALL the Golden Globes??

E - I think this movie is “great” and “very good” and all the things that it has been called by “critics” - I think it deserves all 93 of its Rotten Tomatoes. I think that as a “millennial” or whatever you want to call my age group (I am a 22-year-old Latina), I hear the word “dream” in so many contexts. Something that I appreciate about La La Land is that although “dreams” may be the focus, it ends up being something that involves certain kinds of sacrifice, which is a word that isn’t spoken of often these days IMHO.

B - I wondered how many sentences there would be before you used the word “dreams.” You beat my guess of 2. Congrats!

I think you’re right about dreams and sacrifice in the movie. I also think it was an effective twist (if you want to call it that) on the standard dreams-come-true narrative. They mostly did come true, but not without difficulty, and ultimately not in the way they thought. And that’s why you get an ending that is more bittersweet than simply sad or happy.

E - I can’t say that I’m thrilled to be so predictable, but how could we discuss this film without discussing dreams? Of course, there are other aspects of La La Land that are unavoidable when it comes to the “magic” of the movie, such as its setting, which combines new-age, colorful Los Angeles with the nostalgic feel of “Old Hollywood”. Although Stone and Gosling may not be the most talented singers/dancers, what they lack is made up for in visuals of the Griffith Observatory at dusk, California’s rolling hills in the background of the usual traffic jam, etc.


B - Yes, “Hollywood”, old and current, is all over La La Land. I’m glad they kept showing the sights or else I would have thought they were in Branson, Missouri.

Speaking of the stars, what non-perverted-weirdo crime would Ryan Gosling have to commit for you to think less of him?

E - Probably something along the lines of animal cruelty and/or treason.

B - Follow up: Is this a rare instance of actor attractiveness overpowering actress attractiveness?
E - I guess it sort of depends on what kind of thing you’re into. It’s difficult to compare Gosling,
being known for his “10/10” looks and sultry smile, with Stone, who is probably more well-known for her charm, on a scale of attractiveness. For this film, though, it seems to even out.

E - Being a little bit “older” is there anything about the film that you would say feels frustrating to you?
B - Well, I normally don’t seek out musicals, so that was a barrier to overcome. (I am so brave.) I think it still ends up a tad too fairy tale-ish and self-congratulatory “Hollywood” for me even though there are plenty of obvious attempts to get away from that in the movie (e.g., RG’s line that “Hollywood worships everything and values nothing”). I would never describe my viewing experience as frustrating, but I think I would have preferred a movie within the movie about the jazz musicians that ended up playing at Seb’s. Which might just be Whiplash (same director, you know).

B - Since you loved this movie soooo much, what is/are your big takeaway/takeaways?

E - I’ll excuse the patronizing tone just this once. Besides the obvious dreams vs. sacrifice message, I took away a greater appreciation for the modern musical, especially in a cinematic form. If you can believe it, I’m not a huge musical gal myself, but this film could possibly enchant even the biggest “musical cynic”, such as yourself.

B - Yeah, ok, I was a bit enchanted.

E - So I’m not the predictable one after all!


Student Activities invites you to a real ground-rule-double of a Movie Night as we present La La Land on Saturday, April 22. The movie will be in the Dorm 28 fields starting approx. 10 PM.



Why SA?: Kay

April 7, 2017

Kay Torres

Hometown: San Diego, California

Major: Business Administration: Marketing

One Thing: I've swam with sharks!

Why Student Activities? This job allows me to serve the staff as well as the student body, and that's hype.

How long at SA? 2 1/2 years