The UWG’s University Recreation (UREC) held its first UWG’S Got Talent Show and Expo, featuring nine live performances and an expo with four student-run businesses on Feb. 23.
The event was created by six UREC graduate students, as part of their graduate program. This is tied to a year-long professional development curriculum that ensures readiness post-graduation for future career opportunities.
“This year we decided on the Business Expo and Talent Show because we thought it would be fun to do and we have never seen anything like it done before,” says Lucy Caples, a Graduate Assistant at UREC. “We each knew students that either had a special talent or a business so we thought that this was something that UWG needed.”
To ensure maximum safety for both acts and attendees, the event was held in the Campus Center Ballroom, allowing up to 60 patrons while complying with social distancing guidelines and each seat was spaced six feet apart. Masks were also required for entry and during the entirety of the event.
“We had a much larger turnout than we anticipated,” says Caples. “I was worried that we would not have a crowd for our performers and expo participants, but many students were excited about this event, which made the event more fun.”
Acts for the show were judged by a panel of four judges including UWG first lady Dr. Tressa Kelly, UWG Head Football Coach David Dean, the Student Government Association President, Khareem Leslie and Title IX Coordinator, Erin Williams. Judges scored acts based on factors such as overall performance, creativity and overall performance effort.
After tough deliberations, judges awarded first place to Levi Vande Kerkhoff for his performance of “As She’s Walking Away” by the Zac Brown Band. In second place, Ella Gilbert for “On My Own” from Les Miserables and third place was given to Aijalon Allen for “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar featuring H.E.R. Winners were given prizes including $100, $50 and $25 MasterCard gift cards for the first, second and third place acts.
“I felt that the night went very well. Everyone involved seemed to have a lot of fun and we got many compliments afterward,” says Caples. “There is obviously some room for improvement, such as more reach out to areas involving talent and small businesses, more entertainment between the acts, maybe a more organized host script. Overall, however, I believe this event went a lot better than past GA [Graduate Assistant] events.
“I would love to see the talent show be a yearly thing,” says Caples. “However, I’m not sure that it can be. We are required to create a new program from scratch, so I do not know if they will allow the GAs to do this exact event again. While I wish with all my heart that this was a yearly thing, I do not think it will be.”