LU Moment: CoFAC Fall Festivities | S3 Ep. 21



Shelbe Rodriguez:
Hey there, Cardinals! I’m Shelbe Rodriguez, social media and digital marketing manager here at Lamar University and I’m back to host the LU Moment this week where we showcase all the great events, activities, programs, projects, and people at Lamar University. Big news here: Lamar University will no longer require masks or facial coverings to be worn on campus by any student, faculty, staff member, or guest and that’s effective immediately. Now, of course, Lamar University is committed to the health and safety of our campus community, so the Student Health Center is offering free COVID-19 vaccines to all current LU students, faculty and staff. Appointments can be made online at lamar.edu/healthcenter. We highly encourage the entire LU community to take full advantage of this as we prepare to our full return to campus in the Fall. For more information on our fall return, you can visit lamar.edu/strongertogether. For our future Cardinals, again, that’s the class of 2025, new student orientation is starting up here soon, so be sure to get registered for that. Our next session is on July 17th, so weather you’re starting in the summer, fall, spring, new student orientation is ready to welcome you and prepare you for a successful transition to LU.

Now, LU alumni around the globe are constantly making a difference, asking important questions, breaking down barriers, making discoveries, solving problems, and just doing work that matters. So, it’s time for some Cardinal shout outs for our LU alumni in the news.

Congratulations to recent deaf studies and deaf education graduate, Shay Stegemann who just published a children’s’ book titled, My Name is Mya and the book covers deafness and ASL (American Sign Language) and will be available for purchase at the end of the month at andonthisfarmbooks.com. Be sure to check that out. Way to go, Shay, we’re proud of you!

Also, LU alum, Judith Smith, the director of the port Arthur Health Department was recently honored by the rotary club for her outstanding service to the community during the pandemic and the Mason Cosmopolitan Lodge #172 presented her with the Community Builder Award. She was also given a proclamation by the Jefferson county commissioners, thanking her for her work during the pandemic as well as a proclamation from the city of Port Arthur. So, congratulations to you, Judith.

We’re proud of you as well and lastly, LU alum, Angie Humble is a 5th grade ELA teacher at Lumberton Intermediate School. She was awarded the 2021 elementary school Teacher of the Year Award, so congratulations to all of our cardinals there. If you are an LU alum and you have exciting news or updates, about your life that you want to share with us, go ahead and visit lamar.edu/alumni and submit your class note and we’ll be sure it on the LU Moment or on social media.

Alright, so exciting things are happening for the College of Fine Arts and Communication here at LU and here to talk more about that is Jennifer Robertson or as we affectionately call her, JT. JT, thank you so much for joining us today.

Jennifer Roberson: (3:10)
Shelbe, thank you for having me. I’m excited to be a part of the LU Moment and I’m also happy to report that I had my first vaccine at the Student Health Center and it was a great experience. I made my appointment online, walked right in and in and out, fifteen minutes flat. It was a great experience.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (3:29)
I love that, JT. That’s perfect and again guys be sure to visit lamar.edu/healthcenter and it’s free to all LU faculty, students, and staff and so be sure to get that taken care of before we start up with the fall. JT, how long have you been here at LU in the college of fine arts and communications. Tell us a little bit about what you do.

Jennifer Robertson (3:53)
Well, I’ve been with the college of fine arts and communications here at Lamar just passed my three-year mark. I just had my anniversary in March. So, I work for the college as the communications and marketing coordinator as you said earlier and I promote all of our events through the college, our faculty, whatever’s going on with our staff. As you know, our college is busy, we always have lots going on and it’s just a really fun place to be, surrounded by so many talented, creative, and just downright smart people, so it’s always fun to talk about what we’ve got going on.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (4:29)
You guys just wrapped up the Le Grand Bal. what is the Le Grand Bal? Tell us a little bit about that went.

Jennifer Robertson: (4:34)
So, the Le Grand Bal is our biggest and largest fundraiser event. We do it annually. I believe Le Grand Bal started way back in 1973 and we’re still hanging on. Usually, when it’s not COVID-19, it’s just a big party. We celebrate the fine arts, we have a very lovely dinner. It takes a year to get this thing organized and put on, but as you all know, in 2020, after all of our event planning, and selling tickets and getting ready for the event, we had to cancel it due to COVID-19. We did not think it would happen this year in 2021, but at the last minute, we decided that why not? We should have it, it should be a virtual event, so we went forward with it and we had it this past Friday evening. It was a virtual evening at Le Grand Bal and we were trying to make it fun, as fun as you can through a virtual event, but we had lots of video aspects of it, but there was also an educational aspect.

We pulled in some faculty and students, representing all three of our fine arts departments and we just had a little sit down and let them talk. They discussed all of the creative ways that they had to learn during COVID-19, how they had to pivot and change the way they think, the way they preform, really just change the way they think, change the way they preform, really just change their life in general as we all had to do, but it does look a little bit different through the fine arts eye. It was a wonderful event. We still had an online art auction and I’m happy to report that unofficially, we have raised $165,000. It will go towards student scholarships and other things for our fine arts students and that’s a combination from our 2020 event and also this one, so bravo! Our people did a wonderful job!

Shelbe Rodriguez: (6:41)
That’s perfect, JT! Honestly you guys should be called the college of fine arts, communication and creativity because you guys kept us on our toes the entire time throughout this entire year. You held virtual clinics, music clinics, there was just so much that you guys offered. I know your dance students recently did Among Us. That was an interactive dance experience on campus.

Jennifer Robertson: (7:03)
That was a very cool event. Amy Elizabeth is our faculty member. She’s one of our dance faculty members and she put this together. Dancers Among Us was a performance that one of her classes does. They do it every year, usually it’s performed in the Grand University Theatre with spotlights, sound and sometimes fog and it’s just amazing, but this year, again, we had to get creative because it was COVID-19 and boy, did they knock it out of the park. They decided to do Dancers Among Us which was their end-of-the year performance, but they decided to do it around campus this year, outdoors and it was amazing. Our dancers performed in different locations from performing on the track, to performing in the quad, in front of the greenhouse, in front of the science building. It was beautiful, it was great, very creative and honestly, I hope it something that would stick around and we could do it again in the future.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (8:11)
Yeah, I definitely love seeing the photos on social media of the performances and I know the department of theatre and dance also presented the 2021 Helen and Larry Rose Dance Awards to recipients Brittany Gonzales for outstanding technical dancer and Ashley Hawkins for outstanding contemporary dancer. Congratulations to both of those ladies. Tell us a little bit more about that award. I know that’s a very special recognition.

Jennifer Robertson: (8:37)
This is a very, very special award to us. This is the second year. Dr. Rose, he is an alum here at Lamar, but Dr. Rose and his wife, Helen decided two years ago that they wanted to acknowledge the hard work of our dancers, and so they teamed up with Golden Wright, the chair of our theatre and dance department and they present these two awards each year to two outstanding dancers and it’s such an honor. This year, both of our dancers were surprised in the best way possible. They were so thankful because this money that Dr. and Mrs. Rose give, it helps these students. One student said it would help pay her tuition, another student, it was going to help her with some of her dance needs and things that she needs for class, so it’s just really, really important to our students, but also, it’s a great acknowledgement and super nice for Dr. and Mrs. Rose to acknowledge our dancers like this.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (9:38)
I love that and JT, I know the college recently released the magazines’ Sights and Sounds 2021 edition and you actually wrote an article about Dr. Rose, didn’t you?

Jennifer Robertson: (9:50)
Yes. Dr. rose is very important to our university. He has served in many capacities throughout the years since he’s been an alum. He also gives other scholarships. He has a scholarship in the college of business in honor of his mother and father, the Pearl and Aaron Rose Award and he also offers scholarships to dance members that are a member of our LU dance team. So, he’s just doing wonderful things within our college and our university.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (10:19)
So where can the audience go and find Sights and Sounds?

Jennifer Robertson: (10:23)
If you would like a copy of Sights and Sounds, you can email me or you can visit our website at lamar.edu/cofac.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (10:31)
And that’s c-o-f-a-c, cofac and there, again, you can find that article on Dr. Rose called the Rose Report, thank you JT. Any exciting things coming up for this summer?

Jennifer Robertson: (10:43)
We do! We have some very exciting things coming up. We have our summer dance intensive which is a week-long dance camp and that’s going to be July 12th-17th. It’s all day long, it will end with an event on the last day. I do believe this year the event will be recorded and maybe not live. I’m not sure, as these rules change, so do our events, so I think those details are yet to be worked out, but the dance camp is happening, no matter what. We have all of our dance faculty, Travis Prokop, who puts on the dance camp, Amy Elizabeth, Golden Wright, our chair and Ms. Lou Arrington and they are wonderful dancers, they bring so much knowledge and technical skills to the dance intensive, so if you have a dancer that would like to be involved in that, please visit lamar.edu/dance and you can get registered.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (11:41)
Alright, so JT, we’re gearing up for our Fall return and again guys, for more information on that it’s going to be lamar.edu/strongertogether. What exciting things do we have to look forward to from CoFAC for the fall?

Jennifer Robertson: (11:54)
We are coming back to in-person events. We’re so excited, our students are excited. They cannot wait to perform in front of a live audience again. We were able to do it somewhat on a much smaller scale within our department of theatre and dance, but all of our music events were virtual, all of our concerts, all of their fundraisers, so we are more than excited to get back together. I hope we can come back in August and I can tell you all about our exciting events happening throughout the semester, but we are bringing them back in person, baby and we are excited!

Shelbe Rodriguez: (12:32)
Back and better than ever!

Jennifer Robertson: (12:34)

Back and better than ever, but before we do go back to in-person events, we do have one more virtual event and that’s our all-state choir camp and that’s sponsored by the department of music and there will be two sessions for that. We have a small school choir camp and that will be Jul 7th-9th and then we have a large school choir camp which will be July 18th through the 21st. You can find out all of the information about those camps at lamar.edu/music. Last summer, we had to take our choir camp virtual and it went off with a bang. It was such a hit. It was a lot of work. We did not know what would happen everyone was just flying by. We were just living on coffee on prayers. It was such a good job. Dr. James Han did a fantastic job and he has a whole crew that just put it together and it was very worthwhile and fulfilling for our choir students and also, they were just very appreciative to still have the opportunity even though it was virtual. It was a great hit, so we will do that again this summer and then next summer, hopefully we’ll be back in person for that.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (13:52)
Alright JT, we’ve got about a few seconds left here. Tell me, what are you most excited about for our fall return?

Jennifer Robertson: (13:58)
I’m really excited personally to see the campus back alive with students and faculty. It’s really been quiet around here and I’m ready for our students to get back. I’m ready to see people on campus and I know that our students are ready to just have that college experience back and I know that our students within the college of fine arts and communication, I know they’re just ready to be in the spotlight again and perform in front of a live audience.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (14:28)
I know, I’m excited to see some smiling faces myself coming up in the fall. Alright, Cardinals, that is a wrap. Thank you so much for joining me, JT. Guys be sure to follow Lamar University on all social platforms, just search Lamar University #weareLU. JT, tell us where we can find CoFAC on social media.

Jennifer Robertson: (14:47)
You can visit lamar.edu/cofac.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (14:53)
Guys be sure to tune in to the next episode of the LU Moment, this is Shelbe Rodriguez, social media and digital marketing manager here at Lamar University, the pride of Southeast Texas.