At the University of Cincinnati (UC), there are always unique events and activities that students can attend, such as concerts, trivia, crafts and more. These events did not magically appear on campus; behind the fun facade is a dedicated team that organizes, promotes and schedules everything down to the minute. This dedicated team is called the Programs and Activities Council (PAC), the âpremier event programming councilâ on campus.
Whether it’s bringing renowned speakers and artists to campus or inventing the most wacky activities for students, PAC is well established on campus. The main PAC this year is Austin Woods, a fourth year economics student.
Woods felt drawn to PAC as a freshman and remembers attending the activities fair and feeling overwhelmed by the choices available. Then he saw the PAC booth.
âI wanted to find a small community with whom I shared values, respected and wanted to spend time outside of school,â said Woods. “I walked over to the PAC table, saw what it had to offer and immediately wanted to know more.”
This year, Woods is the president of PAC. Overseeing one of the larger groups on campus seems like a tall order for many, but for Woods, it’s all part of the fun. Woods describes PAC as being dedicated and many PAC members would describe Woods in the same way.
Grace Deerad, a psychology and organizational leadership student, is president of social media for PAC.
âAustin has uplifted the dedication of PAC by being one of the most dedicated PAC members I have ever seen in the organization and it’s incredible for morale,â said Deerad.
Woods’ dedication stems from his love for creating wacky events for students, one of his favorites being the zipline in the spring.
The success of the events far outweighs any concerns Woods has about his role. He recognizes the challenges as president and exceeds them every day.
âThere are a lot of hurdles to jump through when planning events, starting months before they are planned, from permits and security to reserving locations and complying with university policies,â said Woods. âWe need to consider everything from internal culture to morale while making sure PAC is still working towards our mission. “
Deerad echoes Woods, emphasizing how much PAC’s mission is for and by students.
âOur goal is to bring students together and create experiences that unite them, this is something so important to me, and I am very fortunate to be a part of it,â said Deerad.
Woods thinks PAC really amplifies what it means to be a Bearcat at UC. He wants to make this experience accessible to all students, because PAC is more than just flashy events. It serves to enhance the college experience.
âWe know that student life is not as easy as some may think; we always strive to provide a safe space for students to have positive experiences and hopefully make friends along the way, âsaid Wood. âWe value student opinions and take feedback on our events seriously. “
Other students involved in PAC also share Woods’ beliefs. Deerad sees the CAP as a way for students to be recognized and to feel included on campus.
âMy favorite PAC event we had was when we brought in Karamo Brown from Queer Eye to speak and do a moderate question-and-answer session,â Deerad said. âWe had an incredible turnout and the event was very uplifting. The community was so inclusive and wonderful.â
Woods knows that PAC has improved his college experience in more ways than one. Not only did he learn to establish himself in a team and broaden his perspectives, but he also discovered a family found again.
âI would compare PAC to an otter – the members treat each other like family and we are social in the sense that we want to see as many students as possible on campus,â Woods said.
Woods encourages students to see what the organization is all about when they see a PAC tent or booth on campus.
âThis is my fourth year at PAC, I have been able to grow with other members and the organization itself,â said Woods. “I wouldn’t trade my experience or my workload for nothing. I really feel like I found the community I was looking for.”