Posted November 17, 2016 by Nathan Seibert 

Campus MovieFest at UConn

Campus MovieFest (CMF) is the largest student film festival in the world. CMF travels to college campuses across the country to put on a weeklong event and provide students everything they need—from cameras to laptops and software to technical guidance—to produce a quality film in one week. This provides a creative opportunity to cultivate students’ ambitions and artistic skills, all completely free to students.

The films are judged by a panel of local students and professors, then a mini-film festival is held to showcase the best films and announce the winners. While several awards are given out at the finale, the three best films are awarded the opportunity to move on to the national competition and compete against films from campuses across the country. These awards culminate in a weeklong film festival in Atlanta, where not only the top three films from each campus compete, but also a plethora of other student film contests are held. The categories range from short documentaries on local charitable acts to 30-second “Hack-to-School” videos. Some additional prizes include being featured on Campus MovieFest’s website or even as the featured film on major airlines across the country.

SUBOG (Student Union Board of Governors) is a mostly student-run, student activities group that plans and executes a variety of enrichment events across the University of Connecticut’s campus. From concerts and comedy shows to daytime giveaways and free movies, SUBOG offers students exciting programs and an escape from classes and exams. SUBOG is organized in several distinct committees headed by students who work closely with graduate advisors and full-time staff to plan and promote these activities.

Campus MovieFest was brought to UConn by SUBOG’s Film Committee three years ago and was such a success that it has become an annual event. As an annual event, Campus MovieFest has a unique place in SUBOG’s event planning. SUBOG’s committee chairs change every year, with new students assuming leadership positions and older members shifting to lead other committees, serving in executive board positions, or graduating from school. This means that although many events are repeated year to year, they always gain new elements as they are planned from a new perspective. This helps to keep experiences fresh for UConn’s students throughout their four years at the university.

However, because CMF is so heavily reliant on an outside company, it presents distinct challenges, especially when compared to other events run exclusively by SUBOG. Because SUBOG is a university sponsored group that organizes countless events every year, especially in and around the Student Union, they have a close working relationship with the event services staff in the union. This makes planning events much simpler as there are always experienced students and staff involved.

For CMF, however, SUBOG presented itself as a middleman; the Film Committee took responsibility for organizing and staffing the weeklong event. Emily Chekmeyan, the chair of SUBOG Film Committee, took this event as an opportunity to spur the student body’s interest early on in the school year. Previously, CMF had been held in the spring semester, but because of its popularity and previous success, the event presented itself as an opportunity to quickly involve the student body in SUBOG sponsored activities.

Despite SUBOG’s familiarity with CMF, the event still presents significant challenges in that it lasts over a week. From promotion well ahead of time to the finale of the entire process, organizing spaces for all of the different aspects of CMF was a challenge as this event required repeated use of large spaces to accommodate for the number of students interested in participating.

The timing of these events also turned out to be difficult as the communication between SUBOG and CMF did not always translate directly between SUBOG and the Union’s Event Services. The necessity of a middleman in SUBOG sometimes results in timings and minute details getting lost in transit. Because SUBOG books the spaces for CMF to be in, there must be detailed communication between the groups to ensure that these events run smoothly. Additionally, without a committee of student volunteers, staffing all of these events would have been a significant problem. The use of SUBOG volunteers, as well as the close relationship of SUBOG and event services, allowed for the lengthy event to be successful. CMF at UConn was a resounding success in part because SUBOG provides an experienced liaison between Event Services and outside companies.

As you can see on Campus MovieFest’s events page, many ACUI institutional members have brought this unique event to their campus. If your's hasn’t yet done so and would like to learn how, visit


Nathan Seibert

Nathan Seibert is the Undergraduate Student at University of Connecticut.

Nathan studies mechanical engineering and is a member of the Student Union Board of Governors at the University of Connecticut.


Note: To post a comment to The Commons, you must login to the ACUI website.
about the commons
The Commons is the online hub to discover new ideas and learn what is going on in the college union and student activities profession.
more ...
about the contributors

Meet the ACUI members who have volunteered to share their knowledge and insights as regular authors in The Commons.

more ...