~ The best event ever… ~
I’ve been involved with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE in short) ever since I first stepped foot in UCSI University in January 2017. Led by Taj Uddin, one of the greatest presidents of the Student Chapter, I was recognized for my hard work and work ethic that I rose from sub-committee to main committee in such a short time. Being part of the main committee, I had a terrific opportunity to work and learn from the best seniors I could ever wish for. SPE 2018 was undeniably a wonderful team of committed individuals who were not just in to reap the benefits but to work together for the fun of it.
Back in January 2018, I had my first major task as of the main committee members. I was in charge of event planning and management for SPE Night 2.0. The celebration of “SPE Night” has become a tradition in our student chapter. Each year we’d have a different theme. The theme back then was “Black and White” where everybody dressed up to the nines in their best formal attire to gather for a night of fun, good music and great food in Le Quadri Ballroom, UCSI College. I was really amazed by the organizing team’s efforts that I was inspired to organize the next SPE Night. Sure enough, when the opportunity came around in January 2019, I took it.
I recall our first committee meeting back in January 2019, right after UCSI University’s Clubs Day. I was super enthusiastic when the vice-president of our student chapter asked who’d like to organize SPE Night 3.0. My hand shot up in the air before anyone else could. I remember feeling so satisfied when my name was put up amongst the list of organizers on the board. I promised to the theme that we would make SPE Night 3.0 a roaring success and that I was going to try my very best to the lead the organizing team which comprised of a few of my senior friends, the newbies, and two of my best friends: Mohsen and Noman.
I proposed a meeting with the organizing team as soon as next week. I was overwhelmed with excitement that I wanted to start planning for the event straight away. The team and I gathered in an empty classroom to brainstorm on the theme of the event and other associated work areas such as logistics (booking the venue, table arrangements, etc.), registration, publicity (how to attract our target audience of 150 students), finances, and so on. We had resolved the theme of the night to be a “Masquerade Ball” and started a fun discussion on if we should source the masks from a DIY store or order in bulk off the Internet. Immediately after the meeting, my best friend Noman and I, along with a few of our senior friends ventured out to the various restaurants to obtain quotations for the food. Lucky enough we were able to secure our food and beverage arrangements with “Kashif” restaurant (which was just a block away from campus) for RM 8/ person.
SPE Night 3.0 was held on the 3rd of April 2019, Wednesday. And I had been stressed out about it since the beginning of the semester in January. I believed in starting early because the deeper we get into the semester, the less work we can do because of our midterms, assignments and tests which seem to come together in a span of one week. Well, that’s UCSI for you. The day before the event was indeed a busy day; I found myself with a great deal of work to do such as paying for the tablecloth, preparing the emcee scripts, contacting the logistics personnel for ballroom setup, contacting the technical team for the sound system, etc. But to my amazement, my best friend Noman Nabeel assisted with every one of the tasks. It was his first time assuming responsibility as the program manager for a big event but he was willing to put his best foot forward and help out wherever necessary. On our drive to Le Quadri Ballroom in UCSI College to set the tables and decorate the ballroom, he looked very tired but he remained composed and cheerful and I’ve very thankful to him for understanding how much this event meant to me and that I’m going to need all the help I can get to make this event a success.
After spending three tiring hours decorating the ballroom to perfection and a group cheer for motivation, the committee disbanded to rest for the night. My friend Noman and I, together with the vice organizing chairperson Ali and his friend Yasser, visited Domino’s Pizza for dinner. The day had been extremely taxing – and tomorrow was going to even busier – but having a warm dinner and laughing with people closest to me made me feel like everything’s going to be fine and that I should stop worrying because we’ve prepared everything to the best of our capabilities.
The day of the event was finally here and I remember rushing to the ballroom to make sure all our decorations were still intact and that the performers were there to rehearse. The committee came in well-dressed and a few of them had donned their masks already. My best friend Mohsen came in his blue suit and I was sure that he was going to be nominated for the best dressed award later that evening. Blue is definitely his colour. I was the last to dress because I kept checking in on everyone making sure everything was okay. We were lucky to have our club advisor Ms. Farhana’s support to secure dinnerware from the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management last minute because the catering restaurant somehow failed to mention that they didn’t have enough dinnerware for an audience of 150 people.
The event started off late as we had to wait for the guests to fill in. I recall feeling extremely nervous when nobody showed up at 6:00 pm. I thought everybody had messed up the date and an event without guests was a sure failure. But, thanks to Allah, the hall was packed by 7:00 pm. We even had external guests from other universities joining in our event! Once all the opening speeches by Ms. Terra (our SPE President) and I were done, we were all set to partake in the first activity: a game of Kahoot. For those unfamiliar with Kahoot, it’s an online quiz where players read the question of the screen and quickly chose the right answer before their peers. The fastest response is awarded the highest points. I had stayed up the night preparing and perfecting the questions. I had included a mixture of basic engineering questions, trivia and memes so everyone can have a blast out of it. Based on air of excitement and the audience’s response, the game of Kahoot was undeniably one of the highlights of the night.
After Maghrib prayer, we proceeded with our performances and passing of certificates of appreciation to the committee of 2018-2019. Dinner which was scheduled right after Maghrib prayer was delayed until 9:00 pm owing to the fault of the food and beverage team. I personally had tried to engage with the audience and moved up several performances ahead of the agenda so that we could buy some time. Sure enough when dinner arrived by 9:00 pm everyone was starving and the food trays were empty in half an hour. The band performance after dinner was all the rage! The audience loved it so much that they had their put the flashlights on their mobile devices and were swaying their hands to the song. Before the event ended, nominees for the best dressed award for male and female were called up to the stage. And if you were guessing if Mohsen was nominated, you guessed right. After announcing the winners, it was time to bid all the guests farewell and thank them for making an appearance that night. Thanks to our photographers and Ali, the whole SPE team took a group photo to commemorate the event before leaving for home.
Mohsen had left prior to the end of the event since his family was in town (may Allah bless his family). The organizing team and I stayed behind to clean up the hall. It was a unique experience for Noman and I to wash up the goblets we borrowed from the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. It was well after 1:00 am when we closed up the hall to leave. My best friend Noman and I could barely walk; I had been standing up running the show and engaging with the audience where Noman never left my side for the entire night making sure I was okay and everything was going according the agenda. As we walked on home, I couldn’t help but feel extremely proud of my team and I for making history in our student chapter for hosting such an awesome event and for having best friends like Mohsen and Noman to count on to help out in all my undertakings. SPE Night 3.0 was truly a night to remember and one which I will cherish for all the years to come.