Behind the scenes of the Student Union Board


Blake Lanser/Iowa State Daily

Timeflies, originally slated to come to Ames during the 2014 Live @ Veishea concerts in April made an appearance Dec. 5 at the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. Cal, the group’s lead singer, has been singing and freestyling since high school, while Rez got an early start in production after building a studio in his basement for multiple high school bands.

Emily Benda

With more than 350 events a year, more than 100 volunteers and more than 50,000 participants, Iowa State’s Student Union Board has its work cut out for keeping up with the number of events. 

Student Union Board, affectionately referred to as SUB by members, is a student-run organization that coordinates entertainment for the ISU community.

While SUB is an event-planning group, students join from a wide spread of majors and interests to gain experience in event management, marketing, public relations or working with professional organizations. 

Composed of about 15 directors and more than 200 general members, SUB organizes anything from concerts in the Maintenance Shop, Open Mic Nights and cultural showcases.

“We generally try to do a bunch of things that will be suited for everybody,” said Sam McPherson, president of SUB. 

Some of the most attended events organized by SUB are ISU After Dark, Cyclone Cinema and large-scale comedians and musicians. These events require special attention from the executive board and help from SUB’s faculty and graduate advisers. 

“It’s mainly the advisers that do the communication between the artists and their agents,” McPherson said. “So we [SUB] can say we’d like to see this kind of artist or this general range of people, and the national events director and their adviser do the actual choosing and the offering.”

Set up and tear down also requires extra assistance. According to McPherson, general members volunteer to help set up for large events as early as 6 a.m. and stay to take down everything until as late as 1 a.m. 

“You see it [the event] start from being absolutely nothing, like a totally blank room, and then setting it up to a really awesome stage that hundreds of people are in,” McPherson said. 

Graduate adviser of SUB, Tim Reuter, said the organization works well together because there is commitment among members.

“The directors of events really own the events … they put in so much work and passion that drives everything that they do,” Reuter said. “Everyone is always willing to pitch in and help out wherever they need.”

General member, Jason Speed, agreed the cohesiveness and community within SUB is what makes it successful. 

“Everybody gets along pretty well. I know the directors like each other and I get along with all of them … the chemistry seems really good within the organization,” Speed said.

Tad Beekman, another general member, said the chemistry within the group is what prompted him to join. “I went to a meeting, it was fun and the people were welcoming. I’ll probably be here for a while,” Beekman said. 

Reuter praises SUB for its teamwork and commends the organization for its accomplishments. He said he enjoys working with this group of students.

“Most of these kids are event management or marketing [majors] and it adds so much to their educational experience, it’s insane,” Reuter sad.

As an event management major, Speed appreciates the experience he has gotten by being a member of SUB.                         

“I love live music and that’s something I kinda want to do [in my career]. I want to do live concert and stuff. I think that would be pretty awesome. I think it’s great Iowa State has something like this [SUB],” Speed said.

Because there are so many general members, students can put in as much time into SUB as they want. Involvement can range from one event each month to helping with three or more events each week.

General members often assist with setup while the directors and advisers deal with agency communications. Often, directors will have the opportunity to pick up artists at the airport and take them to the hotel and green room.  

Directors also provide input and help each other set up for other events in addition to their own. Teamwork is key to hosting a successful event. 

“Just the amount of work and preparation that goes into putting these events on and the amount of dedication I think they have is something the larger student body doesn’t get to see,” Reuter said. 

SUB is open to all students, regardless of experience or major. Applications are available on its website for people who are interested in joining. 

For more information about Student Union Board, visit