By Kari Lutes, Staff Writer

Every student at Asbury knows about the annual Highbridge Film Festival, but few students know what goes into one of Asbury’s most anticipated nights. The students in the Special Events class, however, get an inside look at what makes Highbridge so special.

Professors Greg Bandy and Jeff Day planned Highbridge on their own for two years until Dr. Jim Owens suggested offering a class that would allow students to help with the process. The class has been offered ten-years running ever since. The class, under the instruction of Bandy, plans and puts on the festival, managing each aspect of the festival by separating the 30 students into six teams: PR/Marketing/Communications, Design/Identity, Video, Hughes (event staging), Miller (reception) and Webcast.

Everything and everyone in the class works towards the event, creating a unique classroom atmosphere.

“This is a real event with hard deadlines and actual budgets. This is the only course I teach that does not have rubrics. We’re not here to learn the basics of software tools or go over 101 materials, this is all about refining professional skills at a high level. That’s why we require each student to have taken advanced courses in their area of responsibility,” said Bandy. “I work with these students more in a managerial or mentoring role. It’s a unique course for upper-class students”

Senior Ben Garverick and junior Kelsey Bundy, both students in the class, agreed that planning a big event with real-life responsibilities can be difficult.

“I think one of the most challenging things about the class is making sure everything gets accomplished by the deadlines. Although it seems like four months would be enough time, it’s surprising how fast time seems to slip away,” said Bundy.

Garverick agreed. “It’s challenging keeping track of everything like supplies, money and what people are doing because it gets very confusing very quickly.”

Along with managing so many things in so little time, students in the Special Events Class face challenges no member of the audience in Hughes would imagine. For Garverick, a member of the Hughes team, that means managing the temperature in Hughes, making sure doors are unlocked and finding a room for the Chick-fil-a mascot to change in. Bundy’s video team hopped into a canoe in order to film and get pictures under Highbridge. “There are always the little things you don’t think about.” said Garverick.

While a class in this setting can be intimidating and comes with a lot of pressure Garverick and Bundy both find the rewards outweigh the stress. “This class prepares you in a crazy amount for the real world. You learn how to work on teams, work with a budget, put on a huge event, time management, people skills and more,” said Garverick.

But the real reward is in the event itself. “I think the most rewarding thing about this class is being proud of your professional work, and then seeing the event actually take place through everyone’s hard labor,” said Bundy.

The goal of the class is always to make Highbridge a more incredible experience than it was the year before, and each class leaves its own mark on the festival. “Each class brings its own character and identity to the festival. That may sound cliche, but it’s true. The 2016 Class, is well, I always say it, but it really is a special class. We have a lot of talent in here and I think our audience will see it clearly that night,” said Bandy. Highbridge Film Festival will be held on April 23 at 7:30 pm in Hughes Auditorium.

For the class, everything they’ve worked towards for the entire semester is finally accomplished on the night of the festival. According to Bandy, Highbridge is more than a film festival, “it’s a celebration in so many ways.”

Tickets for Highbridge go on sale April 11 and the webcast of the festival can be viewed athttp://highbridgefilmfestival.com.