How We Turned a University Academic Center Into a Club-Like VIP Experience
Rutgers University recently hosted its first major event at the Gary and Barbara Rodkin Academic Success Center to honor the school’s talented student-athletes. The building opened in 2021 and was built to serve Rutgers’ body of approximately 700 student-athletes, offering individual training, workshops, and other facilities for the men's and women’s soccer and lacrosse teams, as well as a space for university initiatives like career networking events.
“Club Rodkin” took place on May 3, 2022, and replaced the previous tradition of the “R Awards” ceremony. Over 300 students attended the inaugural event, which turned the athletic center into a collegiate club featuring dancing, lights, and unforgettable moments.
How Hurricane Productions transformed RU’s space into ‘Club Rodkin’
Hurricane Productions was honored to help create the first student event at the brand-new Gary and Barbara Rodkin Academic Success Center. To make this event happen, we transformed the space into a New York City-style lounge using uplighting, moving lights, trussing, and a professional DJ. Here's how we did it.
Given that this was the first event at the center, Hurricane had to figure out all the logistics for hosting an event in this space. Our team did various thorough walkthroughs and met with building staff to discuss their vision for the event and how to execute it. We referenced events we had previously produced to incorporate their ideas and create a lounge-style atmosphere. Once we knew what the Rutgers team wanted, we went to work designing and bringing their idea to life.
Lighting & Audio
Hurricane provided all of the lighting production for the event. To replicate a nightclub feel, we staged the area with towers featuring lights that consistently moved to add liveliness to the space. The lighting was programmed by our professional crew to be in sync with the DJ's music and washed over the students as they danced the night away.
We also rigged the space with a professional audio setup that rivals that of any club. We set up speakers on both floors of the bi-level space so we could be heard in every inch of the space. Students had no trouble letting loose and leaving it all on the dance floor at Club Rodkin.
Talent & Entertainment
Our professional MCs hosted the event, keeping students engaged and reminding them to vote for the student-athletes in attendance. Meanwhile, our talented DJs kept students on their feet and having a great time throughout the event.
Students were able to vote on different superlatives for their peers using a custom QR code that was placed through the space. They voted on conventional categories such as “Biggest Personality” and “Best Dynamic Duo” to some unique ones like “Best Candidate for the CIA” and “Most Likely to Miss a Zoom Meeting.” At the end of the night, the winners were showered with cheers and laughs as they collected their awards.
Photobooth and Red Carpet
In addition to the lighting and audio support we provided during the event, we also made the student-athletes feel like real VIPs before they even walked in the door. Students traded in their sweats and jerseys for formalwear and posed with their friends along the red carpet we installed outside of the building.
Inside, students could continue to capture their favorite moments of the night in the photo booths, where they instantly received prints of their photos, giving them a cherished, physical memento they could take home with them. Photos were also sent to their phones, giving students the ability to share their memories and favorite moments instantly.
The results of Club Rodkin
Club Rodkin was an incredible success and the first of many in a new annual tradition at Rutgers. The students had a fantastic time, as evidenced by the numerous social media pictures they posted from the event. Students left feeling enchanted, appreciated, and grateful for this memorable evening with their peers.
We look forward to hosting many future events at the Gary and Barbara Rodkin Academic Success Center including an RFund event, Scarlet Knight on the Banks, Board of Directors Meeting, and Spring Dinner Event.
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