ECC’s Human Services Club Encourages Variety On and Off The Stage

Vanessa Passo, Staff Writer

The Human Services Club held their very first variety show in Elgin Community College’s Spartan Auditorium on Oct. 27.

At 7:30 p.m., around 60 guests lent their time and support to six performers (five total acts); among the performers were two fellow ECC students.

ECC student and fellow Observer staff writer Luis Arevalo welcomed a variety of talents to the stage, including stand up comedy, spoken word poetry, original rap songs and an improvisation act.

Human Services Club President Crystal Villalobos, 24, gave insight to the club and as to what herself and her members advocate.

“So our driven focus is to just better the community, create awareness. . .especially we’re driven to local organizations,” said Villalobos. “We do a lot of volunteer work within our community, primarily Elgin, but we do go a little on the outskirts like St. Charles, like one of the organizations that we’re working with this semester. We just look to better and create awareness to all the things that are going on in this world, to help better and empower people. Advocates! I guess that’s a good word for us.”

When asked about the decision to hold a variety show, of all events, Villalobos encouraged the idea of variety for a good cause.

“We’re definitely about diversity, we don’t discriminate against anyone or anything,” said Villalobos. “Luis, our host, he does a lot of stand up outside of school and we’re always open to ideas… so he pitched this idea about bringing out some of his friends, bringing out some of our friends and creating this variety show. And then, since we are working with the Boys and Girls Club and the Lazarus House, we just figured, why not make it free but also potentially raise money for those organizations.”

The variety show did not charge attendees an entrance fee, but donations were accepted for a great cause, raising money for local organizations around the community of Elgin, IL.

“Last semester we did the Waste Side Center in Elgin, and we also did the Open Door Clinic. But, we did a lot of volunteer work with Boys and Girls Club and the Lazarus House,” said Villalobos. “So we have this ongoing project called Jars of Hope, that’s one of our big focuses as a club, where we gather donations for set, assigned organizations, which, this semester is Boys and Girls Club and Lazarus House. So because we did volunteer work with them before, we just decided to go with them.”

Six total performers, of different backgrounds, gathered to put on free acts for the audience and members of Human Services Club.

ECC student and audio production program member Donovan James, 23, wowed the crowd with his original rhymes and live rapping.

James’s passion throughout his performance left the audience entertained, and stems from his love of music and his craft of writing.

“I grew up on music in general, not just hip-hop and not just rap, I’ve always been around music and I love it all together,” said James. “I started writing…I didn’t know I was writing raps at the time…when I was 10 or 11. But I didn’t get serious with hip-hop till about 15, 16 and then I’ve started trying to improve…I don’t want to say ‘perfect’ because we can never be perfect…but I started improving my craft when I was a teenager. [The songs performed tonight] are my songs that I wrote myself! I write all of my stuff.”

Following the entertainment styling of James was 33-year-old comedian Sonal Aggarwal. Her vivacious personality seemed to have induced belly-laughs and smiles among the entire Spartan Auditorium.

According to Aggarwal, she had heard about the event from the host, Averelo, at an Improv Olympic event in Chicago, IL. She shared her background and her beginning in her newfound comedy career.

“I’ve been on stage for a very long time,” said Aggarwal. “I spent a lot of time over in India, so I do lots of MC-ing, and lots of different performing over there. And I’ve done, like, “comedy” because when there’s no culture around…there is, but in cities like Bombay and Deli, but where I am is more like musicians and dancers and everything but they’re like, ‘you should do some comedy’. So I do it, but it’s more like I just take the mic and I’m just telling stories.”

The diversity among performances and acts highlighted HUS club’s overall mission of accepting any people of any kind. Aggarwal commented on the plus-side of highlighting differences, and using comedy as a way of doing so.

“Luis…and his whole stutter thing…I mean that’s the thing, to be able to laugh at the most awkward and uncomfortable [things], ya know, then breaks that tension, and that’s why it’s so important to be able to.”

The next Human Services Club meeting is on Nov. 14,  in Heritage Room, B180, from 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m.

HUS president Villalobos left a few final regards for the ECC community to know about her club:

“We are a driven group of students who just want to see the better, not only within the school community, but within the society, and create awareness to all the causes that are out there and everything that’s going on.”