Behind the Scenes of Jaguar Productions’ Prom Planning

By: Gracie King | Feature Editor | 

Photo by: Michael Dunn | Photographer

Nearly every week, it seems like there are events after events at South Alabama, filled with opportunities for students to meet new people, join a club, watch a movie or even unite for the community in times of distress. 

Jaguar Productions, a student-led organization, is the official Student Activities Board for South Alabama where members help to plan and coordinate various events, like block parties, karaoke nights and comedy shows. But what really goes into planning an event for students, by students?

KenAndre Smiley, the President of Jaguar Productions, strives to deliver original events that appeal to his fellow students. The organization’s most recent event, “A Night on Jaguar Street”, gave students who may have not had the traditional prom experience due to COVID-19 a do-over of sorts. 

“In the past two years, a new generation of college students entered college without having a prom. Prom was something to look forward to as a part of your high school experience,” Smiley said. “Even I looked forward to going as a Senior. So we wanted to give our peers a chance to experience what they couldn’t before.”

Work on this event began last semester, as all JP events are usually planned at least a semester in advance so there is ample time to get and allot resources. Though they begin the project far ahead of schedule, there is no shortage of work to be done in the days leading up. 

“Usually, there are many questions at first, but then we move on to reserve the space, call vendors, and create a proposal,” said Smiley. “Once passed, the meetings come, contacting vendors again, working with The Student Center to make sure we’re on the same page, getting decorations, making decorations, setting up for the event, doing last-minute prep, and opening doors.”

Jaguar Productions often tries to plan and put on events specifically requested by students. Student committees help to inform the various boards on what other students might want to do and see. Like many of the organizations on campus, they are primarily by students who want their classmates to feel welcome, excited, and included, and for students who are eager to make friends and try new things . 

“We’re hoping that the students will get enjoyment and specialty out of this event,” Smiley said. “This night is for them, and we hope they feel just as important as we believe they are.”