NJCU Athletic Awards 2019: How We Transformed a Gym for an Awards Gala

Lots of universities hold their student award ceremonies on campus in a theater or gymnasium. Event organizers will often dress up these on-campus spaces with a few balloons, banners, and plastic tablecloths in the university colors. At NJCU, they fully transformed their gym into a sophisticated event venue worthy of any awards gala.

On May 6, 2019, New Jersey City University held its annual Athletic Awards Banquet. This "feel good" event celebrates a growing community of student athletes, administrators, and families, and highlights the athletic achievements of NJCU's Gothic Knights.

The banquet was held in the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center (JMAC) -- but you'd never have known it. This 2,000-seat sports arena is normally set up for NJCU basketball and volleyball games. On the night of the Awards Banquet, though, it was nearly unrecognizable as a gymnasium.

Hurricane Productions and its sister brands MediaCutlet and CaneAV worked with NJCU's Athletic Administration to transform the facility into a fully functional ceremony space, complete with a custom-designed stage, lighting, and audio services.

Stage design

We set up a temporary stage in the JMAC arena as the focal point of the banquet. Black pipe-and-drape panels extended across most of the gymnasium floor to create the back of the stage. We also carefully arranged white cardboard boxes along the back "wall" for a unique visual element, as well as to pick up the stage lighting.

Lighting and effects

Every stage setup needs lighting, so we lined the front and back of the stage with uplighting to make sure everything and everyone on stage looked great. The green lighting matched NJCU's primary school color, and our synced lighting created an exciting atmosphere for the presenters and attendees.

Audio equipment

Hurricane provided a full audio system for the banquet, including speakers and microphones for the presenters.

With our extensive experience designing athletic events for Rutgers University, we felt confident in our ability to bring NJCU's vision for the Awards Banquet to life. Check out the finished product, including "before" shots, in our video from the event:

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