San Diego State students to emcee GreenFest concert

by Bridget Chapman

Being in the presence of television, film and new media junior Amber Neukum and senior Gee Bwinika would leave one thinking they’ve been friends for life. Their chemistry and whimsical demeanor could brighten anyone’s day. In reality, the two San Diego State students are still fresh faces to one another and recently met because they were chosen to host this year’s GreenFest concert.

Both Neukum and Bwinika are passionate about the eco- friendly movement driven by GreenFest. Bwinika has worked closely with GreenFest in the past and knew hosting the event was something he wanted to do. He was eager to obtain the emcee title and believes his application was the first to be sent in.

Bwinika was confident in his chances because of the work he put into his resume and video reel. He has been performing his entire life and works as an editor and dancer at Fox 5 San Diego. He also hosts many events through his company, Dancing is a Sport.

Neukum found out about the hosting position after multiple people tagged her in a Facebook post about emceeing. She put together an audition tape and nervously awaited her fate.

“It wasn’t really about me,” Neu- kum said. “It was just about the fact that it would be an honor to introduce such an incredible pair of artists.”

She fell in love with the enter- tainment industry through her pre- vious internships with Entertain- ment Tonight and Clever Media. The experiences drove her to team up with her friends from Brightside Radio to create Brightside Network Media, where she covers different music artists and produces weekly videos.

Bwinika enjoys the onstage in- teraction and knows if he pursues a career in this industry, he will have to co-host with a stranger on many jobs. He thinks working with Neu- kum will be a different experience for him.

“I’m excited because it’s new, it’s fresh and she seems like someone who’s very entertaining,” Bwinika said.

Neukum said she thinks they will be the ideal mash-up. She’s the music connoisseur who’s ready to bounce around on stage. She described Bwinika as someone who radiates and is a funny, crowd-pleasing guy. The crowd will get exposure to all types of energy through their dif- ferent styles.

“I would’ve been OK up there by myself, but I think feeding off of Gee (Bwinika) is going to be that perfect combination we need,” Neukum said.

They’re both prepared to do whatever it takes to keep the audience entertained. Whether it’s a dance battle or making fools of themselves, they aim to keep the energy high throughout the show.

“I feed off the audience, and whatever kind of energy they give me from the get-go tells me what gear I need to be in,” Bwinika said. He said he sees himself as a part of the show and it’s his job to keep the energy going during the artists’ transitions. Neukum said she’s thrilled to have an impromptu show and said she thinks the best work comes from being spontaneous.

Both the hosts are happy to ad- vocate for the message behind GreenFest as well. In Neukum’s audition tape, she highlights the importance of recycling and living an eco-friendly lifestyle. Bwinika also thinks it’s a cause that deserves at- tention.

“I know our colors are red and black, but day-by-day and year- by-year we’ve gone more green,” Bwinika said. “That’s the best way of entertaining people. You enter- tain, but you have a bigger pur- pose.”

Neukum said she wonders if this opportunity will open doors for large-audience hosting. She gleamed with excitement at the thought of being in front of such a massive crowd. Her plan is to continue striving to accomplish as much as possible.

“Honestly, at the end of the day I’m so humbled and amazed that they gave a student the chance to do this,” Neukum said.

With graduation quickly ap- proaching in May, Bwinika is grate- ful to have a chance to give back to the school. He said he appreciates SDSU for giving him a chapter of his life he’ll never forget. Although he’s usually paid for his hosting jobs, he’s more than happy to do it for free for GreenFest.

“When I do it for my school, it’s no longer seen as a job. This is home for me, and whatever home needs, I take care of it,” Bwinika said.