Columbia’s Events Management course to host its fifth annual Fresh Connect hip-hop celebration

By Jordan Perkins, Staff Reporter

Lucas Martinez

Featuring live performances from Columbia musicians, the team behind the fifth annual Fresh Connect planned the celebration set for Friday night with the goal of making a lasting impact on Columbia and Chicago’s hip-hop community.

Michael Giannelli, marketing team lead and graduate student in the Master of Arts Management program, said the student-run team wanted to focus on the decades long history of hip-hop in Chicago for this year’s event.

The Fresh Connect, which is sponsored by the Business and Entrepreneurship Department and organized by the “Events Management” course, will take place at the Conaway Center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., on Dec. 10 from 7 to 10 p.m. and also be livestreamed on Twitch.

Charlette San Juan, one of the producers and the talent team lead for the event, said she hopes people come to Friday’s event, as there are exciting surprises in store for attendees.

Friday’s event is also being held in collaboration with Hip-Hop Week at Columbia, which was started by adjunct faculty member Amina Norman-Hawkins, instructor of the “Hip-Hop Symposium” course. Her students will be hosting events throughout the week.

On Wednesday, Dec. 8, “Perspectives in Hip Hop” will take place at the Conaway Center from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and on Thursday, Dec. 9, “Rhyme Through Time” will also be held at the Conaway Center from noon to 2 p.m.

Norman-Hawkins said Hip-Hop Week started at Columbia to follow the recent Congressional approval of National Hip-Hop History Month in November and celebrate the school’s hip-hop community.

“I would love for people to begin the week by celebrating Columbia hip-hop, sharing their music and supporting the artists,” Norman-Hawkins said.

During the Fresh Connect event, the Fresh Connect Scholarship will be presented as a gift to the Hip-Hop Studies program to award to students minoring in Hip-Hop Studies.

The scholarship was started this year by the fundraising team in the course with a goal to raise $5,000, which will be used to award scholarships to five students in the program in the near future.

“It’s something that we’re really proud of,” said Matt Schutz, fundraising team lead. “This has never been done before as part of the event, and it’s kind of pioneering [at] the school as well since this is a scholarship for students by students.”

The scholarship fund is still accepting donations. Anyone looking to donate can visit the scholarship fundraising page.