Frequently Asked Questions


Have a question about AB Tech, getting involved, or hiring us? We have answers (well, most of the time). Don’t see your question below? Please email abtech@andrew.cmu.edu with any questions you may have.

General

What is AB Tech? How do we fit into the Activities Board?

AB Tech (short for Activities Board Technical Committee) is Carnegie Mellon’s production organization charged wtih providing the technical needs for university-sponsored events. We are one of the committees under the Activities Board (AB) along with Concerts, Events, Films, Publicity and Speakers; however, we are governed separately from the rest of the AB organization.

What exactly does AB Tech do?

Every year, CMU hosts many events on campus, such as dance shows, concerts, and competitions. These events often require technical support to run smoothly, and that is where AB Tech steps in. We provide the lighting, sound and backstage management needed to make the event a success. Some of our events are as small as providing speakers for a gathering, while others are as large as rigging new structures to hang dozens of lights for a concert.

Where is AB Tech located?

Our main location is the techroom at the Cohon University Center. To get to techroom from ABP, follow the below directions:

  1. From the stairwell, head towards the Gym/Studio A/Keeler. You should pass the glass sculpture on the left.
  2. Take a right and follow the hallway up the ramp.
  3. Enter the double doors to your left at the top of the ramp. Techroom will be on your left after passing the double doors.
Who works AB Tech events?

Students! Affectionately known as techies, our members are undergraduate and graduate students studying anything from engineering to computer science to business to art to English, and everything in between. Occasionally, alumni will also return to help with our large events.

How is AB Tech different from technical theatre or Scotch ‘n’ Soda?

While we do partner and share equipment with the drama department and Scotch ‘n’ Soda (in fact, some of our members are also involved with S’n’S), as the university’s production organization, we support a wider range of events. We specifically specialize in event production with handling entertainment technology; however, you can expect some overlap in knowledge between us and S’n’S.

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Getting Involved

Why should I join AB Tech?

To play with some of the most expensive equipment CMU owns, of course! Our lighting boards, sound systems, and supporting equipment are all what you would find in the industry, and we’ll teach you how to use them so you can design the next big event. Plus, you’ll get to be involved with some of the most exciting productions of the year. If you’re interested in working with lights, speakers or being backstage, come meet fellow techies and join our next event!

What can I do as a techie?

Techies can take on several different run crew positions, which are roles that are responsible for specific aspects of an event (for example, lighting). Techies can also help with general setup and strike. Some common run crew positions include:

Do I need prior experience in event production?

No, in fact, many of our members have little to no prior experience in event production when starting out. Just about everything can be learned on the job by participating in events and taking run crew positions.

When does AB Tech meet?

AB Tech holds open weekly meetings for anyone interested in getting involved with upcoming events. Join our mailing list in the Join form for specific times and locations. We also meet to set up events throughout the week. For a list of upcoming events, please see our Tracker site.

AB Tech does so many things in event production! How can I learn everything?

Yep, this is a common dilemma for techies. Typically, members try out a few roles, eventually specializing in one or two roles and dabbling in the rest. Coming to events and trainings is the best way to work with equipment hands-on. You can also take an assistant position to be paired with a more experienced techie, who will teach you how to set up equipment and work a show.

Is there a time commitment to being in AB Tech?

Nope! You are free to sign up for run crew positions and come to setup/strike as your schedule allows. However, depending on the size of the event and run crew position, you may need to attend run crew meetings or prepare paperwork ahead of time. These meetings will be coordinated with the techie in charge as needed.

What else do techies do?

Sure, we work hard, but we also have a lot of fun together. After large events, we often get together for a celebratory meal off campus. We’ve also hosted game nights, karaoke, Fuku runs and ski trips for our members. If you’ve got an idea for a social event, let us know!

How do I get involved?

Come talk to us! We are present at the FAIR and Winter FAIR - just look for the bright lights and follow the loud music. You can also join the mailing list by hitting the Join button above. See a person in a tech shirt? Ask them about the next event you can help at and they should hopefully be able to point you in the right direction.

How else can I get connected?

Join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram @cmuabtech to see all the cool things we’re doing!

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Requesting AB Tech

What events does AB Tech support?

We support a variety of events on campus! From speaker events and movie nights to full dance shows and concerts, we are available to design the appropriate technical configuration for your event. Some events you may have seen us at in the past include Orientation, Dancer’s Symposium, Lunar Gala, Carnival and Greek Sing. See a list of Past Events.

When is AB Tech available to support events?

In general, we are available to work events during the week and over the weekends. In cases of limited availability (over breaks or near large events), we will work with you to coordinate appropriate technical support as needed.

Where is AB Tech able to support events?

We are able to work at most venues on CMU’s main campus in Pittsburgh, including Mellon College of Science. Most events we support are on-campus, but we also assist with a few select off-campus events each year. Events may be indoors or outdoors, weather permitting.

What equipment does AB Tech own?

We have a wide inventory of professional grade equipment available to support a variety of events. Please see Equipment for a general list of equipment we own. If you do not see a specific type of equipment, contact us and we may be able to suggest alternatives or assist in coordinating rentals from an outside vendor.

How are events priced?

Events are quoted based on the equipment configuration needed and amount of labor we estimate you will require. Last minute requests or changes may incur an additional fee to cover increased support. However, these quotes are estimates; the final invoice may differ depending on the specific event circumstances.

How can I request an event?

Click the Request Event button up top and fill out the form. We will be in contact with you shortly!

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