WATCH: VU Staff Q&A Series – Dwayne V. Elliott, Arts & Campus Events 

In a new series on the Vanderbilt Instagram account, students can get to know some of the dedicated staff who play a crucial role in creating a welcoming and supportive environment for them. This installment features Dwayne V. Elliott, the director of Arts & Campus Events in Student Affairs, who has worked at Vanderbilt for almost 20 years.  

Stay tuned for more Q&A sessions with the staff members of Vanderbilt, whose daily efforts are fundamental in shaping positive experiences for the entire university community. 

View the rest of the staff Q&A series. 

Watch Dwayne’s Q&A Session:  

What are your favorite events that students get to attend? 

I think all the programs we plan are fun for students to attend. I call it a “food court.” It’s different offerings that you have. Maybe you want to go chicken, or you want to go vegetarian. We give a lot of different offerings for students. I think whatever they’re interested in, we provide them with different opportunities to interact with and then get involved on campus. 

What is your favorite event to plan? 

I think one of my favorite events every year is the Mega DeStress Fest—we hold it in December—I think for selfish reasons, because it’s usually during my birthday. We give students massages and we have different relaxation things for them, because it gets stressful during exams—and I partake in the massages as well!  

How can students get involved with Arts & Campus Events? 

To get involved in our office, we have elections and membership opportunities for you to get in February for the Vanderbilt Programming Board. So if you’d like to plan Homecoming, our concerts, our CityVU activities, our Vandy Fanatics initiatives, our Late Night Program and speakers—those are great opportunities for you to get involved and help plan those. And with our arts, we have art classes that you can get involved with. Just visit our website for Arts & Campus Events and you can see the different offerings that we that we provide for students. It’s a great opportunity for you to show your artistic ways, and it’s a great stress reliever as well.  

Are you excited for Rites of Spring? 

I’m very excited about Rites to Spring this year. It’s April 20. If you haven’t got your tickets, please get them now before they’re gone!  

Who is a dream artist you would love to bring to campus? 

My dream artist I’d love to bring to campus would be Usher. Usher is my all-time favorite artist. My wife got me tickets to see him in Vegas, and I’m trying to see him in Atlanta, so I would say Usher would be one. And I’d also like to bring Dolly Parton. That would be another artist to bring. So I have them both—different genres, but I think they have a mass appeal.  

Who’s your favorite person on your photo wall? 

Dwayne Elliott with Taylor Swift
Dwayne Elliott with Taylor Swift on the photo wall in his office.

My favorite person on my “wall of shame,” as I like to call it…I have a lot. So, one would be Taylor Swift. I ran into her backstage at a concert. My friend told me that she was there, and I thought he was telling a fib. And then she tapped me on my shoulder, and it was her. And the first thing I said was like, “Wow, you’re really tall!” And then we started talking, and we took a photo together. I think Colin Powell is another one of my favorite ones. That was a great event that we had—we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Impact [Symposium]. And this past year we celebrated the 60th anniversary. And then Spike Lee—I like a lot of his movies, so I think that’s another favorite photo that I have on my wall.  

What are your favorite things to do around Nashville? 

Well, my favorite thing to do in Nashville is golf. I’m a huge golfer, so that’s my stress reliever. Every Saturday and Sunday I’m on the golf course having fun with my friends. So that’s one of my favorite things. And I also like to go to shows. I go to a lot of concerts. I do a lot of “recruiting,” or a little scouting of different artists. So that’s another thing. I love going to Bridgestone Arena and the Ryman to see some shows.  

What is your favorite part about working at Vanderbilt? 

I think my favorite part about working at Vanderbilt: It’s like a family. I love the students that we have, the relationships when we’re working together. And this is a big community, and that’s one thing I really like. I love our faculty and staff. We get along. It’s like a family atmosphere, like I mentioned. So that’s one thing I really like. It’s like my family away from home. I enjoy coming to work every day. It’s not like I’m doing something really hard. I’m not trying to come up with a cure for an ailment or anything. I’m just making sure that the kids have fun. And I have fun too. So it’s a great combination.