GT Jam for Haiti to rock out for a good cause

When passionate Tech students aren’t spending their 72-hour days on studying, they are dedicating 72-hour days to a noble cause.

Jesse Clark, an MCRP grad student, and several others from student organizations have spent the last month organizing the GT Jam for Haiti: a benefit concert to relief for Haiti.

The concert will host four prominent local bands, several comedians from the Laughing Skull Lounge and improv performances from Dad’s Garage. The event starts Saturday, March 13, at 6 p.m. on the south side of the Burger Bowl. Ticket prices are $12 in advance or $16 at the door.

Clark expects for the turnout to be in the thousands, with all proceeds donated to CARE relief agency and the Fuller Center for Housing—major Atlanta-area nonprofits involved in relief and rebuilding in Haiti.

“A concert seemed like a great idea; everybody loves music, and it’s something to bring everyone together versus just asking people for a donation or a handout,” Clark said.

The concert will start with an introduction by the Atlanta Haiti Alliance, followed by alternating stand-up routines by Laughing Skull Lounge comedians and local bands—Do It To Julia (folk-rock), Heavy Mojo (hip-hop and rock), Teddy and the Bears (alternative rock) and Third Creek (hip-hop, rock and R&B). Finally, the improv comedy troupe from Dad’s Garage will perform.

“The Laughing Skull Lounge wanted to get involved because we believe in community involvement, this is our way of giving back,” Trey Toler, a comedian with the Laughing Skull Lounge, said, “Personally, I find the organization of the concert inspiring because it was initiated by students who saw an opportunity and embraced it all in the name of giving back—that is pretty stellar!”

The Student Planning Association and Clark took the idea of a Haiti relief concert to Institute President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, who approved; however, organizing a large concert required the cooperation of the compartmentalized Tech administration.

“We thought that after we got the president’s permission to have the concert and it’d be easy, but the most challenging part was bringing all the compartments together for one event that affected every one of them,” Clark said, “Even though it was difficult, [administration] rallied around this and were all very cooperative. Some even bent over backwards to help us out and have been really great to work with.”

The plethora of tasks involved with organizing this event are preparing the budget, finding local bands that are both good and willing to perform pro bono, procuring security and safety support, coordinating with parking and transportation offices and coordinating with Facilities for site preparation and electrical services. To facilitate these tasks, Clark turned to the President’s Office and the Student Center Programs Council.

“We have served as unofficial advisors to this event, sharing a typical concert time line and budget, familiarizing him with campus policies and procedures,” Sally Hammock, Associate Director for Programs, said, ”Jesse and his group have done all the work involved, and they have been very creative in obtaining reduced or free rates for this fundraiser, finding someone to design eye-catching promotion, figuring out how to handle donations/ticket sales, and other details.”

Student organizations are playing a major role in organization and maintenance of the event, especially MOVE, who is largely responsible for reducing cost for manpower by volunteering for tickets sales, concessions, setup and breakdown. While the SPA and MOVE have both contributed the most to the event, other student organizations like the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellinic Council, Caribbean Student Association, and the Musicians’ Network have contributed their efforts as well.