The Annual APCA Conference


The annual APCA conference (Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities) was held in Hershey, PA at the Hershey Lodge this past weekend, and was attended by the e-boards and advisors of Student Activities Board, Student Government, and Underground Café. APCA provides a chance for student organizations to watch showcases from well-established and/or new up and coming bands, singer songwriters, poets, comedians, magicians, and speakers and book some of their favorites to come to their campus. The conference also provides a chance to book these acts at lower rates than what they normally charge by working together with other schools to create small tours, reducing travel costs per school.

During the time spent between the five eclectic showcases held, students have the chance to enter the exhibit hall to talk to their favorite acts, as well as try out some fun new campus activities and novelties. This year’s conference featured activities such as a pop-up Star Trek themed escape room, multiple immersive virtual reality systems, a petting zoo, various games, and a glow party setup which included a black light room, air hockey, and giant glowing swings. Multiple educational sessions were also held on the two mornings of the conference, giving students a chance to learn a few useful things about running a club or events on campus. This included how to increase membership, attendance, and interest in their clubs and events, sessions on diversity, inclusion, and empowering others, and how to better market your club and events to your specific type of audience. The conference also holds a graphics competition for any schools in attendance to enter. In these Underground Café won first in the t-shirt category, second in novelty items, and SAB won third in the poster category.

This was my second time attending APCA with Underground Café, and it gave me a much better understanding of the steps involved in the booking process of the acts featured at the conference. This year I was able to sit in on the cooperative buying sessions where all of the school’s work with the talent agencies to book acts and decide on dates with other schools. Each school was able to either put in an interest for each act they wanted, or commit to booking them at these sessions, and for each additional school to book around your date, price reductions would be applied based on the amount of schools working together.

Besides talking to artists that Underground Café was interested in booking, most of my time in the exhibit halls was spent watching magicians and mentalists. Coming into this conference I was very skeptical and never believed any magic or illusions that I had seen, but I have since been convinced otherwise by the likes of magician, illusionist, and mentalist Matt LaVore. From making pages of books appear in the paper label wrapping of a water bottle in the crowd, to guessing a city that a volunteer was thinking of by ripping up a map of the US, his tricks were both unexplainable and mind baffling and can’t be done justice unless seen in person. APCA also featured some great comedy acts this year including Trey Maddox and K-Von, and even introduced me to new bands that are now some of my current favorites, including synth pop act Krigarè, and the indie pop, Walk the Moon esque band Sub-Radio. During the showcases we also got the chance to see the band Brother Brother again which was featured at Underground Café’s fall kickoff event last semester.

All of the organizations that attended APCA this year booked so many great acts and novelties for the upcoming year that you won’t want to miss. Keep an eye out for them by following each of the clubs that attended on social media @caluactivities @stugovcalu and @UGCafe_CalU and get involved to have a hand in deciding what comes to Cal U’s campus.