Director of Student Activities Lova Patterson ’00 fondly remembers the first concert she ever brought to Eckerd College as the concert director of Palmetto Productions—the student activity board responsible for Halloween Ball, Kappa Karnival, Spring Ball, Drag Queen Bingo, Spring Concert and dozens of other fun times.
“In 1998, we brought Sweet Honey in the Rock to The Palladium and it was amazing,” Patterson says. “It [Palmetto Productions] has literally changed the path of people’s lives, just like it did for me. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if it wasn’t for Palmetto Productions.”
The student staff at Palmetto works closely with the Eckerd College Organization of Students (ECOS), Campus Activities, Athletics, and the Office of Accessibility to be certain they are putting on events that are fun and inclusive for everyone.
Kappa Karnival, 2016, by Nicole Velez ’18. The event, one of many that Palmetto Productions puts on, is an Eckerd tradition.
“We make sure that there is always something to do for the different groups of people to enjoy,” explains Palmetto’s director of diversity and inclusion, Aja Jones, a first-year biology student from Jacksonville, Florida. She says she loves her position because she gets to work closely with the diversity groups on campus “and just make sure that everyone feels comfortable and safe at our events.”
Michael Jerome, a first-year chemistry student double-minoring in human development and Spanish from Annapolis, Maryland, is the director of public relations. His job includes writing emails, collaborating with clubs, and all things advertising—but his job still includes lots of fun. “I had a great time spearheading the Lunar New Year event,” he says. “I spent the entirety of Winter Term working with [the student group] All About Asians and ECOS to put on the event, which had over 700 people.”
Lova Patterson enjoys a laugh with Santa Claus.
Palmetto students aren’t just workers creating merriment for their peers, many of them get their first managerial experience through this on-campus job. Students serve as directors of diversity and inclusion, comedy and novelty, public relations, traditional events, holidays, small concerts, large concerts, and graphic design/art.
“They get to actually work with a tour manager; they get to learn how to set up green rooms for artists; they learn the tech requirements, the personal hospitality requirements … bringing in a concert or a national artist is way beyond the hour and a half that everyone sees, and that’s what Palmetto does,” Patterson says.
Student directors at Palmetto Productions have brought some big names to campus throughout the years. Lova’s favorites feature Dirty Heads and T-Pain. But, just this Spring 2022 Semester alone, students have had the opportunity to see comedian and actor Jen Kober from American Horror Story and The Purge; mentalist duo The Evasons; and the highly anticipated spring concert artist Tai Verdes, singer of the 2021 hit “A-O-K.”
The goal of Palmetto Productions, as stated by its current and former directors, is to bring the community together. Its consistently special events are great evidence of that.