Current City: Los Angeles, California
Hometown: Southern California
Joined Alpha Rho Chi in May 2006
JH: Why did you join Alpha Rho Chi?
ES: I had friends attending informational events about Alpha Rho Chi, and I decided to tag along. Once I realized what a great opportunity it was to build a network and connect with people throughout different levels in college, I decided to join.
JH: Why did you choose architecture?
ES: I knew I wanted to be an architect since 3rd or 4th grade. Even during art assignments in class I wanted to draw buildings and houses. (Eric attributes his love of architecture and urban design to Legos, SimCity, and The Sims games.)
JH: What is something you love about Alpha Rho Chi?
ES: I love the support throughout the fraternity. If you are sick in the hospital you can count on your brothers to be there and support you when you may not have relatives around for support. It’s the invisible bond. Not only within the Andronicus alumni chapter but also throughout the whole fraternity. It is about the people first and foremost. It is never just the individual; it is the collective.
JH: How did you get started in being a public event organizer?
ES: As Vice President of the Andronicus alumni association, my job was to organize events that bring the chapter together. That passion is transferred over to a large scale with the Community and City of Los Angeles. I work on a lot of projects in my professional life, mostly large public projects, bringing people together through public spaces. I meet with city officials and people related with public life and through that I attended meetings regarding revitalization. Through those meetings I found interest in organizing meetings that bring neighborhoods to life and bring people together by activating public space. It just started with attending the meetings and rolled into higher operations.
JH: What types of projects do you work on?
ES: This is my 3rd year in planning the event “Night on Broadway”. It is a giant celebration of historic Broadway Street in downtown LA. The area is experiencing revitalization with businesses moving in. The City of Los Angeles has put forth an initiative to Bring Back Broadway. We hold a festival every year to celebrate this. I am able to plan and visualize this event and bring it to reality. What is the aesthetics, what talent are we bringing in? All of these different events and activities that we invite to be a part of the festival with us bring Broadway to life. We had about 35,000 people the first year and about 60,00 people the second year. This year we had 75,00 people attend in January. We celebrate these historic buildings by filling them with life. Everything is free. These theatres aren’t open to the public on a daily basis, making this a great opportunity for people to experience what it was like to see performers in these theaters 100 years ago. We have additional stages along the street filled with more performers. The goal is to spark economic development within the area by hosting these events.
JH: What goes into planning such a large event?
ES: Festivals are like a giant puzzle that you have to solve, especially in an urban situation, needing to coordinate with different city officials to make sure everything runs smoothly. It is really fun, and I enjoy it immensely. There is nothing in the world like seeing this all put together in one night and seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they attend.
JH: What do you love about what you do?
ES: I have been able to meet so many creative and cool people and learn from them, and I love immersing myself within the community here; it is inspiring. Some of the outreach was to LGBT bars, and the event was successful. We saw some great business that invited me to plan the first pride festival in downtown LA, and it was such a success that we are planning it again this year and making it a two-day event.
JH: How has being in APX helped you with planning skills?
ES: It all started with bringing people together in APX and then translated to bringing people together in the community even if just for one night, and it is my passion.
JH: Do you have any advice for brothers out there?
ES: Accept failure. You will run into moments of failure, and it is hard to swallow it sometimes when you work hard for something that doesn’t work out. See failure in a positive light, because it has brought better results for me.
JH: Do you have any fun facts or anecdotes you care to share?
ES: I am a really big game nerd, and my first job was at an arcade.