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Members of the industry, take note! College students who are sitting on concert committees of university campuses today may just be the agents and promoters of tomorrow.

ACTS’ Barbara Hubbard runs a scholarship program for students interested in the entertainment business at New Mexico State University. Hubbard managed the school’s Pan American Center for many years alongside a staff composed entirely of students.

“I was the only staff person in the building aside from one guy who ran the custodial part and one box office manager,” she said. “Everybody else was students until 1987.”

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That experience, coupled with her background in teaching, became the foundation for what Hubbard hopes is an idea that will catch on ­– the importance of educating the next generation of the entertainment business.

CAA’s Meredith Jones, who went through Belmont University’s music business program in Nashville,  knows all about teaching college students the ropes.

“This is a perfect job for someone who likes to be in that teaching role – to sit down and have a 10-minute conversation with a student who wants to know, ‘What is backline?’ Let me describe it to you and here’s how the offer process works.”

Jones, alongside WME‘s Mara Jacob and Paradigm‘s Taylor Schultz, had some tips for students who want their offers to be taken seriously.

“I appreciate organization and forethought,” Schultz said. “Don’t have a stream of consciousness dialogue with me. Do your homework.”

Jacob agreed.

“Be specific. ‘We want to target students or we want to target the public.’ Be very specific about what event you’re trying to book, what genre and your budget,” she said.

It appears at least some of those agent/student conversations have paid off.

Pretty Polly Productions’ Howie Cusack noted that over the years, he’s seen fewer artists trying to take advantage in their dealings with college students.

“When we first started they acts would try to take advantage of everything they could,” he said. “College students have become a lot more educated about what goes into producing a show. The big problem now is finding the acts to fill slots for shows.”

Another problem Univ. of Ill. Assembly Hall’s Kevin Ullestad thinks universities are facing is an abundance of competing venues.

“There are more and more facilities going up,” he said. “It’s forcing us to be more and more of a buyer and compete more.”

Schools may be strapped by a limited budget or a student-run concert board that turns over every year, but sometimes they have other tools at their disposal that can prove beneficial, NMSU Pan American Center’s Scott Breckner added.

From a group of 35 university survey respondents, Breckner found that some schools have local partners who are willing to assume risk for shows as well as in-house marketing sources on campus that may help in the booking process.

Another way to keep things running smoothly is to stay realistic and trust that the agencies know what’s selling in your market.

“Big names are what students want but if it doesn’t work, hear us out,” Schultz said.  “We know our rosters well.”