Friday, May 4, 2018
Stadium of students watching A$AP Ferg

Rapper A$AP Ferg at UNH

Do you guys like popular entertainment? If you do, and you attend UNH, you have definitely heard of SCOPE, which has been providing quality shows on our campus for years now. We've seen some of the biggest names in the music industry step on stage at the Whittemore Center to perform, including names like J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Uzi Vert, Future and others. SCOPE does a fantastic job of finding up and coming talent in the music industry and bringing them to this campus for students to enjoy at a super cheap price. The anticipation leading up to the concert announcement date and actual concerts is so exciting — it gets  students in a frenzy. To learn more about this incredible student organization, I reached out to Kristina Fusco, who has been a leader in SCOPE for a while now and knows the ins and outs of putting together an amazing show.

UNH Tales: What is SCOPE, and what is your current position with the organization?

Fusco SCOPE is the Student Committee on Popular Entertainment, it's a student-run organization that promotes and brings recognized entertainment to the University of New Hampshire. My current position in the organization is executive director. We have five departments in SCOPE — hospitality, publicity, security, production, and business — and each department has a director. I am the general manager and oversee everything going on in the organization, and really handle all of the administrative work.

UNH Tales: What does SCOPE aim to do for students?

Fusco: SCOPE’s mission is to bring recognized talent to the students of the university for a discounted rate. We interact with the students through surveys and social media to gain a sense of what genres/artists the students would like to see play at our school. We’ve also strived to put the university on the map in the community as a premiere venue for concerts in New Hampshire.

UNH Tales: How does SCOPE pick performers for concerts? What is it based off of?

"I look back at some of the artists we’ve brought here — Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole, Future, Kygo, Logic, etc. — and it blows my mind to see how big they are in the music industry now."

Fusco: We always start with surveys and social media to get students' perspectives and ideas. Using the information gained, SCOPE members gather a list of names to pass on to our agent, who’s also a SCOPE alum, which is pretty cool! He then reaches out to agencies to gather pricing for the artists and availability based off the dates we have been given by the Whittemore Center Arena. From there, it’s a matter of finding an artist who is available on our dates, is priced within our budget, and is someone we feel the campus will be excited about having. We keep narrowing it down until we have a top five list, and from there we begin submitting offers and hopefully get our first choice artist. Something I feel SCOPE has become extremely good at since I joined during my freshman year is getting artists that are right on the verge of blowing up. I look back at some of the artists we’ve brought here — Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole, Future, Kygo, Logic, etc. — and it blows my mind to see how big they are in the music industry now, after we had them perform at UNH.  

UNH Tales: How do you guys keep the performers so secretive from the public before the announcing date?

Fusco: The best way to do this is to tell as few people as possible. There are certain administrators and students on campus that we have to tell because of planning reasons, but other than that it is really only the SCOPE members who know before we announce. We are a small group, and it is embedded in our culture how important it is not to let the news leak before we announce. Many people don’t know this, but there are actually very serious legal complications that could come back on SCOPE as well as UNH should an artist’s name be released before their approval. We have heard of colleges who can’t bring many artists because large agencies have blacklisted them due to breaking of contracts, so it’s actually so much more than us not telling people to seem cool or secretive or powerful — we literally could ruin concerts at UNH forever if we aren’t careful!

UNH Tales: What interactions do you guys have with the performers? Any cool experiences?

Fusco: Most of the time, artists will set aside time to do a meet-and-greet with SCOPE, allowing us to casually converse with them and maybe get a picture. While this is super cool, it’s not a given, as working the event is our main priority. There have been many times I’ve missed the opportunity to meet someone because I was working at a post I couldn’t leave or was helping with ticket lines and getting students into the venue. I would say our hospitality department has the most interactions with the performers, because their job is to set up their dressing rooms and take care of anything they need when they arrive at the venue. One cool interaction I had was a few years ago when I worked in the hospitality department. The artist we had was just, overall, a super down-to-earth person who was extremely humble and unaffected by fame at that point. (I’m keeping the name private JUST in case). But we got him settled into his dressing room, which is stocked with food and beverages and anything they’d want. SCOPE has a room where we put our bags and eat and hang out in our spare time, and it happened to be right across the hall. We were all eating our DHOP pizza, and this artist came strolling in asking if he could hang out and have some of the pizza. He literally had a whole room to himself filled with way better food than DHOP, but he came in, had some pizza and really just tried to get to know us, which I thought was the coolest experience!  

UNH Tales: What does SCOPE provide the performers with upon arrival and before the show?

Fusco: We usually provide food and beverages for them and anything else that would make them comfortable. Most of the time these artists are just flying in for the night to do our show, so they usually ask for very basic snacks and drinks that will hold them over. When we have artists on actual tours, they come with a little bit more work in terms of having fully catered food, much more people and more necessary items to get them through the day.

A$AP Ferg

UNH Tales: How has working with SCOPE affected you? What have you learned and/or accomplished?

Fusco: Working with SCOPE was the greatest thing that could have happened to me. Coming into college, I wanted to work in the music industry, so hearing about SCOPE made me want to join. I was fortunate enough to apply, interview and be accepted during my freshman year. I have learned so much in relation to the music business and how it operates, but I also found a family at UNH and have made some friends I know I will have for the rest of my life. The lessons I’ve learned through holding leadership roles and having hands-on experience running events are invaluable and unlike anything I could have learned in the classroom. Working my way up from a general member to hospitality director to executive director has been an amazing journey with many hardships but so many rewards.

UNH Tales: Why should students come out and join SCOPE?

Fusco: Students should join SCOPE because it will change your life in more ways than I can even begin to describe. If nothing else, join because of your love and passion for live entertainment and music. Not everyone in SCOPE is hoping to make it into a career, but their eclectic music tastes and passion make the org so powerful and exciting to be a part of. It’s difficult to say “Join SCOPE” because, unfortunately, that isn’t exactly the case, as students must fill out an application, go through an interview process and then be accepted to join. With all the confidentiality and commitment involved, it just simply wouldn’t work if we were a completely open membership. However, we always reach out to have volunteers work the show, so I definitely recommend to anyone to do this, as it’s still a great way to be a part of the work we do.