Club Kid

Lookout Manager Becca Mortensen aims to plan events outside venue’s norm

Story by Zack Katz, Currents Editor

There ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little bump and grind, at least not on Lookout manager Becca Mortensen’s watch. But the sophomore liberal studies major said there are other ways to spend a weekend on campus — or at least there will be, according to her neatly constructed planner.
The Lookout, located in Hilltop Center, is the new home for late-night entertainment on campus in place of Crest Wellness Center’s HigherGround, which was affectionately known as “Higher Grind” to some for good reason.
But Mortensen said the one-dimensional feel may have been what caused its predecessor to fall flat after the first couple weekends of each semester. The staff is looking to foster ways for The Lookout to be suggested in more scenarios than, “wouldn’t it be funny if we went to The Lookout tonight?”
Mortensen, who has overseen The Lookout’s transition from its previous home said unlike former freshman flocks, class of ‘17 didn’t have access to the venue due to fall construction, which is why she guesses they may have already found their weekend niches elsewhere.
Mortensen said she receives emails from people interested in performing at the venue, whether they’re interested in hosting a Lookout-based event or just using the space for a performance.
Manager she may be, but Mortensen is still a general staffer in the sense that she can be scheduled regularly, so she’s not unfamiliar with freshman faux pas and general disarray.
“On nights where I’m working as manager, it’s really just a question of making sure people aren’t puking or bringing drinks in,” Mortensen said. “The fun part of my job, though, is the planning stages.”
While the friction from grinding could be put to use as a source of renewable energy on campus, Mortensen said she and The Lookout staff are beginning to believe there’s more to life than cramming sweaty bodies in a room to a beat.
Mortensen said The Lookout is looking to branch out and create a more cultured environment.
“We’re trying to move away from having so much club, just because we understand that there are other student demographics out there,” Mortensen said. “People want a more diverse series of events, and club isn’t for everyone.”
Since opening, The Lookout has already hosted The Michael Loen Swing band, a pair of comedians from California and YouTuber Brian O’Sullivan.
Mortensen said they’re planning more interactive events, such as a student musician event night set for April.
“Ironically, as I talk about moving away from the club theme, our most successful event of the semester was actually glow club last weekend,” she said. “Maybe it’s as simple as adding glowsticks … it’s all about thinking outside of the box though, switching things up.”
Keeping things fresh might be the only way to make The Lookout a relevant option. Luckily, Mortensen said event planning comes naturally for her.
“I guess part of the fun in this job for me is I’m a huge list person and like organizing,” she said.
Sophomore Nicole Cesario said  for her roommate of two years, organization isn’t just in her job description, it’s a facet of her personality.
“Becca’s always been a responsible person with a ton of initiative, it shows in what she and the rest of the staff have already put together this semester,” Cesario said. “If someone as on-the-ball as her is behind what happens at The Lookout, I think it’ll pick up for sure.”
Looking toward the venue’s completion, Mortensen said she’s happy with the way things are panning out, but said there are still some kinks for she and other employees to work out in order to reach the finished product.
“There’s still a to-do list right now: the lighting isn’t what it’s going to be, having no dj booth can be frustrating,” Mortensen said. “Right now there’s just a lot of waiting for what’s to come, but that’s exciting to us.”
As far as deciphering what the completed venue will be, Mortensen said she’s not entirely sure yet, but she does have some ideas in mind.
“Personally I’d like to see a paint job, and for the railing to be removed,” Mortensen said. “A lot of people still see it as a study space so there’s work to be done in order to loosen up the atmosphere.”
Mortensen said while some variables still exist, she and The Lookout staff are encouraging input via their Facebook page — her planner won’t fill itself.