Show ‘Em How to Shake It!



Article from Campus Activities Programming® Magazine’s “Curtain Call” Jan/Feb 2016

Dream with me for a minute … . You are the lead singer in the coolest band in town. Yes, YOU are a rock star and tonight is your big show. You have been planning this night for a long time and you’re psyched that the day has finally arrived. You are ready to rock. You have practiced on your own and rehearsed with the band and they are ready to take the stage with you. Tonight, you will sing like you’ve never sung before. And, because you are a great performer, too, you will “shake your thing” like it has never been shaken! Oh yeah, you – will – be – AMAZING!

In your audience tonight, there will be a few people who have never seen your show, never been to the venue, and have never even seen a live band. They are curious, nervous, excited, and not really sure what to expect. They are the “newbies” and you are the “rock star.” And, you have the ability to rock their world!

Let’s take that relationship between rock star performer and brand new audience and look at it from the perspective of seasoned professional and brand new professional, or experienced student leader and brand new student committee member. One of them is the “experienced rock star” and one is the “audience.” And you, yes YOU, are the rock star and the new folks are the audience because they will be looking to you for guidance.

Just your action of opening this magazine and reading this column allows me to deduce that you are active and engaged in your profession and position. It also tells me you have already gained experience and knowledge in your field. After all, you made it to this page, deep in this magazine! Maybe it’s your first time opening up Campus Activities Programming® magazine or perhaps it’s your 100th. Either way, you are probably not the “new kid.” Not anymore. You have coordinated programs and have been on committees, you understand the roles and responsibilities of student and staff programmers, and you have most likely attended a conference or two. That knowledge and experience makes you a “rock star” in the eyes of your new “audience.”

So, now that you understand that the spotlight is on you, what will you do with your influence? The audience will be watching what you do, listening to what you say, and definitely looking at the way you “shake your thing.” So, be aware of how you shake it and embrace the idea that you truly have “rock star” influence.

I recently watched a Bruce Springsteen video for his 1984 hit “Dancing in the Dark.” It has received over 40 million views (I am not the only Springsteen fan). It’s a really catchy song. But the part that sticks with me is when, at the end of the video, he pulls a fan out of the crowd to dance with him on stage. It’s awesome. He actually reaches out and pulls someone up onto the stage. In so doing, he is including them in his experience. It’s a very cool rock star moment that he creates for himself and for his audience member. By bringing someone “in” and showing them how to “shake it,” he enabled everyone, band and audience, to have a bigger and better experience.

On campus and in our communities, this is exactly what we should be doing with our influence and our spotlight. We should always look for ways to reach out to the crowd and pull them onto our stage to share in our experience. Consider all of the opportunities you have to create these moments for others. Are you programming an event this month? Do you need to recruit new members to your team? Will you be attending a conference soon? Is there something you would like to share with the world? How will you positively impact their lives? Think about yourself as the “rock star” and then think of the act of recruiting, promoting, and teaching as “reaching out to the crowd.” After all, you are a rock star and the spotlight is already on you. The fans are looking to you for guidance, for inspiration, for education, and for the invitation to participate!

Remember the dream we had earlier? You are the lead singer in the coolest band in town. You, yes YOU, are a rock star! In your audience, there are folks who have never seen your show, never been to the venue, and never heard your story. They are curious, nervous, excited, and not really sure what to expect. Your new fans are eager to see where you will take them. Embrace your influential role, reach out to the crowd, and show ’em how to shake it!


Jason LeVasseur lives in Nashville, TN, and is one of the most awarded music performers in campus entertainment. He is also a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, summer camp counselor, husband, father, and the creator of “The Rock Star Project.” Visit He is represented in NACA by Bass-Schuler Entertainment in Chicago, IL.

To see a teaser of one of my crowd ideas called “Twinkle” (just visual):

To watch the Springsteen video:

To learn more about NACA (National Association for Campus Activities)