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:

Looking to transform a space for a special occasion? Get in touch or fill out the form below to talk about how we can help you create the perfect event.

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University Library Transforms Into Club

The Club Alex concept began as a joke amongst students spending late hours at Alexander Library preparing for finals.

Rutgers partners with Hurricane annually to bing this clever anecdote to life as part of 'Senior Week' at the university.

On most college campuses, Senior Week is simultaneously the most exciting and the most stressful time of the year. Between completing final projects, studying for exams, and preparing to enter the "real world," graduating seniors have a lot on their plates. For many of them, balancing academic and career pursuits with a little bit of fun in their last weeks of school is the key to avoiding burnout.

Since 2014, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, has given its graduating class a proper send-off.

With an exciting night of dancing, refreshments, and activities in a familiar setting, the university library is transformed into Club Alex.

According to a Rutgers blog post, students have had a longstanding tongue-in-cheek joke about Alexander Library being a nightclub, especially during finals.

"Sorry, I can't go out tonight," they'd say, "I'm spending the night at Club Alex."

Three years ago, the university brought Club Alex to life by turning the library's reference room into a fully-functional nightclub – and they've been doing it ever since.

Hurricane Productions – whose co-founders Vincent Velasquez and Strato Doumanis are Rutgers alumni – has been involved with Club Alex since its inception.

Under the guidance of producer and MC Robert Padovano, Hurricane pulls out all the stops for Club Alex with multiple rooms and DJs, each with its own unique flavor.

Club Alex, Rutgers
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