What's Happening with Campus Celebrity Joanne Darrigo

This week, we're putting a face to the name behind the weekly "What's Happening" emails. Get to know Campus Celebrity, Joanne Darrigo! 

How long have you been working at Clark?

This is my third year at Clark. I worked at Bridgewater State University while finishing my Master’s degree before.

Can you tell us a little about your job?

My main responsibility is to work with clubs. I oversee 130 clubs here at Clark. I manage all events, logistics, spending, training and any resources they may need. I also help put on all major events here on campus.

What is it like being behind the scenes for a major event like the Hannibal Buress show?

It was super successful! I worked with the two Major Events Committee chairs. They picked the artist and planned the event, and I was there for logistical support.

How did the event go?

We sold out over 600 tickets. Everything went very smoothly. Hannibal was great. Funny aside, Hannibal asked us for 4 student ballerinas but we couldn’t get them in time so he had to outsource his ballerinas. 

Why did he need ballerinas?

He has a rap song that’s #1 in Norway and he raps gibberish and the dancers come out behind him. He was really well received this year.

What was your favorite part of the show?

The best was watching people sell their free tickets online before the show.

What is it like putting together Week One?

We had a very large class this year. They were very interested in getting to know one another, which was great. The 60 Peer Advisers are what make Week One so memorable for many students. The biggest takeaway from the first year survey was how important their PA was to their transition. What amazes me each year is that we get over 100 applications for a position that is volunteer based and requires Clarkies to give up two weeks of their summer. We are lucky to have students so committed to helping their peers have a fun and easy transition into our community.  

What is it like to work on International Gala every year?

Gala is at a turning point. We are beginning to discuss what comes next for this event that has become such a big part of the institution. The performance keeps getting larger and longer and we will eventually out grow the Kneller and our budget. The students are working with SLP and President Angel to discuss what this event will look like in the next 3-5 years.

What goes on behind the scenes at Gala?

It is awesome to see the Kneller transformed over four days. The student performers build the stage that they dance on, which is a cool experience. What most people don’t realize is that it takes 3 days to build the set and when GALA ends, that same night we have to take everything down and remove it from the gym. We are usually in the gym until around 3am taking down everything and resetting it. Even with the insanely long hours it’s fun to work so closely with the student leaders of ISA and to watch and support them through this unique event.  

What is your favorite Clark tradition?

Spree Day! I think it is one of the traditions that Clarkies want to stay the truest too. Especially with the surprise element! Even though students know the date, they are still persistent that the administration keeps the surprise. I find it to be a very uniting experience. Regardless of your class year, everyone comes to the center of campus to enjoy the day together.  

How is Clark Different than other campuses you have worked at?

Clarkies are very passionate about being Clarkies, and also very passionate about their community. They are very social justice focused and globally minded. Constantly fighting a cause for someone else. I went to a state institution and their involvement is generally more career focused. Their extracurricular activities are meant to be building blocks to help students move forward and build skills for their careers.  Clarkies are challenging. They want to know “why” all the time and don’t take no easily, which as a professional can sometimes be frustrating. But, it is also great to have students who want to be involved in the process.  Clarkies are a very unique population. This is the type of institution you come to when you just want to be yourself.

You are a major part of the college experience from a non-academic stand point, your events encourage students to take a break and enjoy being in college. What were some of your favorite college experiences?

One of the things I enjoyed most was being an RA, which led me to taking a career in student affairs. I also enjoyed Homecoming, which was a weekend full of activities where students built floats for a parade and attended a football game and crowning of Homecoming king and queen. It was just a very fun tradition that made me feel very proud to be a part of my school. Joining my sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, was also one of my favorite experiences. I joined during grad school and it has given me so much. Being in Gamma Phi Beta has given me a deeper connection to my alma mater. You share a special connection with other sisters that no one else understands. We have this uniting experience and shared values which is very meaningful and fulfilling. It is awesome to know that I am surrounded by women that want me to be the best version of myself. I am still an advisor to my chapter, so it nice to still be connected and involved in a way that allows me to give back.  

We all seem to have trouble with balance in college. What was your experience balancing school and work or even now, work and play?

Balance is not something that can easily be learned. I did not learn balance until I had a challenging semester professionally and had no choice but to learn how to find balance. You have to learn how to prioritize and then look at what’s at the bottom of that list. Will that get done or does it need to get done? Sometimes we have to make the hard choice to let go of things that are no longer productive or healthy and be ok with that. Whether that may be an extracurricular, an internship, a job, or a relationship you have to know your boundaries and when to let go of something. The biggest piece of advice I have is to learn how to say “no”.  

Do you have any advice for Clarkies?

Challenging convention is part of the fabric of what makes up a Clarkie, but I have found that most Clarkies don’t want their convention challenged. Be open to being pushed to see different perspectives, or try things a different way.

Any girl to girl advice?

We are all on the same team and we have been since day one. Let’s spend more time lifting each other up and supporting one another, because sometimes being a girl is hard! Allow your fellow lady friends to be on their own unique journey, there’s no one mold we are all supposed to fit into.

Thanks, Joanne!