Into The Great Beyond: Student Activities Gears Up For Spring Semester Coffeehouse
In the middle of Christmas cheer at the Merry and Bright Coffeehouse in December 2021, applause and screams filled the entire Vines Center as the out-of-this-world theme for the spring semester Coffeehouse was revealed.
Students will once again have the opportunity to immerse themselves into the wonder that filled their childhood. From Buzz Lightyear to “Star Wars,” space characters of all types invited students to return to a world of excitement and adventure through the upcoming spring semester Coffeehouse: The Great Beyond.
According to Cort Comfort, Student Activities director, the spring Coffeehouse theme essentially fell into their laps. Every conversation the team members would have apart from work was about space.
“There is a deep American attachment to going to the moon,” Comfort said.
Using this as the first stepping stone, the team started brainstorming how they would develop the theme further. They ultimately decided to broaden the idea to include movies, music and TV shows about space. Students have taken this theme and ran with it.
“I can tell by the number of people trying out, the songs they are doing and the number of mashups, this will probably be the most personal Coffeehouse that we have ever seen,” Comfort said.
As important as picking the theme was, Student Activities had much more work ahead of them, focusing tirelessly on every detail of the production.
Makayla Joseph, assistant director of marketing, and the marketing team are responsible for all the graphic content both for promoting the show and during it. This includes game slides, trivia slides, logo animations, LED backgrounds and videos.
“Over the past couple months, we have been working hard on creating a promo video and creating our Coffeehouse: The Great Beyond intro video,” Joseph said. “We are very excited about both of these videos because we were able to test the limits of what we thought we were capable of creating.”
Another part of the team is currently working on an interactive display. This not only takes creative design but also, quite literally, heavy lifting.
“We’re building something that they can interact with and take a picture with,” Comfort said. “We get to put personality into the night.”
Some of the hardest-working members of the team are the hosts Anna Pender and Jordan Hassler, who also hosted 2021’s Christmas Coffeehouse. The hosts spend weeks memorizing a script and lighting cues and have three costume changes during the show.
Unlike participants in the show, who only have to perform for a few minutes, the hosts have a night of playing their host personas.
“It is really hard to host the event,” Comfort said. “They don’t get to do it and come off. They have to come back on.”
After months of prep work, Student Activities employees begin setting up for the late-night event at 11 a.m. on Saturday, working closely with the university’s production team. They execute the event and then stay until 5 a.m. on Sunday morning to tear down and clean everything up.
“It has been a tradition for the staff to go to Waffle House after every Coffeehouse,” Joseph said. “Unfortunately, this past semester we attempted to go to multiple different Waffle Houses in our area and every single one turned away our big group. Hopefully, this semester will be different, and we can still carry on the tradition.”
Tickets can be purchased at www.liberty.edu/coffeehouse.
Hetzel is a feature reporter. Follow her on Twitter