The Student Committee on Popular Entertainment (SCOPE) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) hosted a live Q&A Zoom session with famous YouTube personality David Dobrik. The hour-long event that took place last Wednesday, Nov. 18 was moderated by former SCOPE Business Manager Eric Kalton, SCOPE Security Member John Rooney, and Coordinator for Student Organization & Leadership Nate Hastings.
According to SCOPE’s Instagram, the highly anticipated event could only be attended by 1,000 people due to the limited capacity of UNH Zoom servers. UNH students that are loyal subscribers of the YouTube star logged into the Zoom call as early as an hour before.
According to Rooney, the planning process for any event starts a few months before, in order to invite the most relevant people during a specific period of time. There are many factors that SCOPE takes into consideration before planning out any events.
“Between discussion, research and polling, we use a lot of different things to help determine who SCOPE should bring,” explained Rooney. SCOPE decided to invite David Dobrik not only because of his “immense online following and a large college demographic,” but also because he is relatable in the current world of entertainment.
When asked about how the planning for this event was different, Rooney said, “The entire physical aspect of the show was gone, which meant instead of working closely with the Durham Police or the Whittemore Center, we were working with the UNH IT Department and Nate Hastings.”
For previous events, Rooney said that members of SCOPE would “spend all day leading up to the show preparing the Whit (Whittemore Center) and all-night cleaning up after,” but this semester, SCOPE took a different approach as there were no major physical preparations needed. “This show we were more focused on publicizing, so we could field as many questions as possible,” added Rooney. “Our release video of David [Dobrik] got over 25,000 views in the first few days which is the most we’ve ever gotten for a video like that.”
SCOPE declined to comment on the amount of money spent for an hour of live Zoom Q&A with Dobrik. The money was obtained through the Student Activity Fee Committee (SAFC).
However, according to Kalton, SCOPE had paid a lot more in the past for concerts which resulted in students having to pay to attend in addition to what they pay through their annual student activity fee. This event that had no additional cost.
“The reason is that there are a lot of other costs associated with putting on an in-person concert instead of a virtual event such as production costs, security costs, advertising costs, etc.,” he said.
Both Rooney and Kalton credited the UNH IT department for the tremendous help that they have provided in overcoming a few of the technical obstacles during the planning process. But aside from the limited capacity of attendees, Rooney said that there weren’t any substantial issues.
Kalton said that his expectations were “certainly met” as the Zoom event reached its maximum capacity for the entire hour. Aside from being honored to be one of the moderators, Kalton added, “A big reason why we chose David Dobrik is because of his very laid-back, easy-going energy. We felt that these expectations were certainly met last week as he made the Q&A extremely comfortable for myself and all of the moderators involved.”
Karly Houghton, a recreation management and policy and sustainability dual major said that she “liked” the event “but there were some things that could’ve been better.” The long-time fan of Dobrik took SCOPE’s advice and watched the event with her two other roommates. Although Houghton only logged into the Zoom call 10 minutes before the event started, she managed to get in.
“I am a big fan of David [Dobrik] and just getting to ‘see’ him was super cool, I liked the event because there were good questions that were being asked,” said Houghton. Though the sophomore did send out a few questions for the members of SCOPE to ask Dobrik, her questions were left unanswered.
On the downside, Houghton felt that the event should have lasted longer. “One-hour-long is a decent amount of time but for the price that [SCOPE] paid, I expected at least an hour and a half or two hours,” she said. Additionally, with Dobrik not being able to see any of the students’ faces besides the moderators, it made Houghton feel like she was just watching a YouTube video – but she knows that there was nothing that could’ve been done about it since it was held through Zoom.