If you have been on campus in recent years, it’s possible you already know Darius Darling, the programming and conference events coordinator for Indiana Tech Student Life.
With the exception of an eight-month internship with his hometown Detroit Tigers in 2014, Darius has been a fixture at Indiana Tech as a student, an intern and part of its professional staff since 2010.
Darius has become known for his positive attitude, his care for and commitment to our students, his strong work ethic that produces rave results and a stellar, soulful singing voice. And, an Indiana Tech without that Darius Darling smile is an unimaginable place.
So, without further ado, here are A Few Words with Darius Darling.
How did you find your way to Indiana Tech?
Originally, I wanted to go somewhere that was far enough away from home that my family wouldn’t “pop up” on me, but I wanted to be close enough to home that if something was to happen, I could make it home rather quickly. Not only that, but I wanted to go to a school where I would have an opportunity to recreate my personal brand. I wanted to take my life to the next level, and when I came to visit Tech, I realized that this was a place where I could change the trajectory of my life. That’s how I ended up here as a student. And, because of what I was able to accomplish as a student with recreating my personal brand, I wanted more Tech students to have the same opportunity. So, when I had the opportunity to return as a member of the professional staff, I took it.
As part of Indiana Tech’s professional staff, you have definitely made a name for yourself as Student Life’s programming and conference events coordinator. What does that role entail?
It is a hybrid position of student event planning and programming and the execution of conference services. I work with our director for Student Life and a team of students to develop campus experiences for students. I also oversee the day-to-day operation of our conference services department and the execution of conference events in specialized spaces on campus.
When vetting an event for Indiana Tech, what kinds of things are you looking for? What do you want to achieve for our students?
Whenever our Student Life team goes through the vetting process for student events at Tech, we tend to keep a few things in mind. First, we want to hear what the students want. If we can find events that meet those needs, we will pursue them. Second, we want all of our students to leave our events better than when they arrived. We want to make sure they are being enriched by attending a Student Life event, whether it’s a comedian, a hypnotist, a movie or a leadership workshop. Finally, we want to make sure students are having a good time. We want students to graduate with fond memories of their time at Indiana Tech, and we hope to contribute to those memories by giving them entertaining options while they are here.
What were some of the favorite events you brought to campus?
I have enjoyed the events we brought here as part of the Auer Grant Performing Arts Series. For the past four years, I have worked with our Institutional Advancement team to create a series of free performing arts events to bring to campus for all of the Fort Wayne community to enjoy. We have done concerts, plays, poetry events, dance and even some acrobatic displays. This series is something I look forward to planning every year. I would also say, our Welcome Dinner for campus is always a highlight. Seeing our new and returning students is an exciting time, filled with great energy and optimism for the new school year.
Indiana Tech’s annual Celebrate Gospel event seems to be one of your favorites each year, as well. And, you are not shy about showcasing your pipes. How did you develop a love and skill for singing?
Music has been in and around my family since birth. My mom was the choir director in church. My grandmother, aunt and uncles were all in the choir. And family functions would often turn into concerts and the living room into a stage no matter whose house we were visiting. I have been singing since the age of 5 and directing choirs since the age of 13. I also studied music in high school. So, with music all around, it was hard not to become addicted to and passionate about music—so passionate that I have been working on my own music.
I recently released my debut single “His Word Says I Can” on all digital music outlets. I am extremely excited about sharing my music with the world, and I hope to bring joy, hope, love and encouragement to those who listen to it. I wrote this song to be a motivational song to help those who may be battling depression and those who may be having a tough time coping with life and its hardships. It’s written to be a song that shares with listeners the hope of knowing that there are provisions in “His Word” that can help you make it through even the toughest of times.
What are some of the “wish list” events you would like to bring to the campus?
There are many, but I will give you two events that I would love to have on campus. One is a live arrangement music showcase. This is where bands will play music of previously recorded songs and change the musical arrangement to what they hear with their musical ear. It’s a snapshot into the brain of a musician when they(we) hear songs either on the radio or at other venues. I would also like to host a full Broadway-style production with live musicians, set changes and actors. As much of a headache that a production like that would bring, it would be awesome to experience working on something like that first hand. But I would settle for having a Broadway cast of the Lion King stop by our campus and perform the music score to the production. Sorry, that’s the music geek coming out again!
So, Darius, you look like the happiest person on campus at all times. How does that happen?
I believe Tech to be a happy place. I get to do what I love every day. I have the opportunity to put my personal mantra of “changing lives and making memories, one day at a time” to work every day. When you have the ability to live out your life’s purpose every day, why wouldn’t you be happy? It’s not always easy to be happy every day, but I choose to be happy and choose to enjoy every moment that I possibly can. No need to be negative when there is already a lot of negativity going on in the world, you know?
What does Darius do to unwind and let loose away from work?
I would say church and music are the obvious choices for me. But, recently, I have developed a love for playing slow-pitch softball. I have played for the past few years and I really enjoy it. I have a chance to be active and just play in the dirt like my younger days. I typically find myself involved in some sporting activity during my off time. But attending concerts and church are at the top of the list. I love a good concert. If I can catch Stevie Wonder, John Legend, PJ Morton, Tori Kelly or Anthony Hamilton (just to name a few) in concert, it would be euphoric.