Nothing will be off the table during Drop the Mic: SRU-Style Tuesday afternoon. Hosted by WSRU FM, students and faculty will rap-battle against one another in the Smith Student Center lobby.
Senior journalism major Josh Kellem said the event came about when discussing ideas for new events for WSRU FM to host similar to and leading up to the Car Smash coming up later this semester. When he was applying to book the quad for a hot chocolate giveaway, Kellem struck up a conversation with Deb Schnell in the Smith Student Center.
“I told [Schnell] I was the PR Director of the radio station and my big thing was brand awareness,” Kellem said. “I wanted to host one event a month, as the thinking would be, ‘Who’s this cool club that keeps throwing these cool events?’”
Schnell began talking about the TBS reality show Drop the Mic, hosted by Method Man and Hailey Baldwin, and the rest is history. Kellem thought it’d be a great idea for the radio station, a club based in music, to host an event involving music.
In deciding who would participate as contestants, Kellem thought about who was well-known and popular on campus, because the interest of the event would hinge on who was performing. Associate Provost for Student Success Dr. David Wilmes was an easy choice, considering his involvement with student organizations and his popularity on social media, especially Twitter. The second contestant was junior journalism major Oscar Matous, who hosts his own late-night radio show with WSRU FM. Kellem wanted someone who would represent the station well, and Matous was the man for the job.
“I’m really quick, I have a quick sense of humor,” Matous said. “I can always pull something out of the hat.”
Lauren Moran, director of student engagement and leadership, was chosen due to her significance behind the scenes of SRU.
“[Moran] is important on campus and not everyone knows that, so this event is good exposure for her and what she does,” Kellem said. “Plus, she’s funny.”
Finally, Vice President of the Student Government Association (SGA) Dallas Kline finished the contestant list, which Kellem was happy about because collaboration with SGA is always good.
“It’s the voices of The Rock working together,” Kellem said.
After gathering the contestants, Kellem and his student advertising committee, Abby Long and Lydia Perozzi, launched a social media campaign to get the word out about the event, including interactive videos and flyers. Kellem said the interactive videos were very successful in getting the student body interested.
“The preparation for any event is always tough at first, then it sorta cools down, as things become finalized,” Kellem said.
General manager for WSRU FM Ian Ponitz said the winner will be decided using social media, specifically hashtags for each “team”: #TeamWilmes, #TeamMatous, #TeamMoran and #TeamKline. The winner will be crowned during the event.
Along with the rap battles taking place, there will also be a drawing for tickets to an upcoming Portugal. The Man concert at Stage AE in Pittsburgh. Ponitz, a senior integrated marketing communication major works at Stage AE and said he was able to pull some strings with his boss, allowing the radio station to give away tickets to the concert, which is in late May.
Ponitz, Kellem and Matous all agree that the event is looking to be very successful with a big turnout, and Kellem and Ponitz said they hope this success will lead to the event becoming an annual thing in the future.
“I’d like to see it continued or at least the idea of hosting an event a month,” Kellem said. “That’d be a little part of me living on at SRU after I graduate.”
Prior to the event, students can tweet @WSRUfm on Twitter #wsrufmgiveaway and the corresponding hashtag of who they think will win the rap battle, then attend Drop the Mic to be eligible to win the tickets to see Portugal. The Man.
In the words of contestant Dr. David Wilmes, “It’s going to be huge, people!”
*Oscar Matous is a contributor to the Sports section of The Rocket. He was not involved in the editorial process of this piece.