By Staff Writer Sawyer Pollitt.
Going through day-to-day life as a college student can be frustrating and difficult.
Everyone is always looking for a way to break up the monotony. There is almost nothing better to cure that feeling than a nice event that can take everyone’s mind off of the tedium of life.
UMass Dartmouth was at one point a mecca for this kind of thing. Live music and other events were commonplace even less than four years ago.
There were a greater number of campus-wide events that were eagerly awaited by the community every semester. In recent years, the university has been lacking in that department and people are noticing.
The UMass Dartmouth campus is a perfect venue for live events. Large open fields are plentiful on the main quad and they unfortunately sit unused for most of the year.
The amphitheater behind the library is unused and saved for convocation and occasionally graduation. Why are these spaces being underutilized? Why are events not being held as frequently as they had been in the past? The campus certainly has not been silent on the event front.
However, they are not going about things in an effective way. It is clear that there has been a push recently to provide late night entertainment on Fridays and weekends, no doubt in an effort to keep students away from the wild party scene we have here at UMass Dartmouth.
The truth of the matter is that students are busy and over worked, they need relaxation.
The last thing that many of them want to do is go to an event hosted by an administrative arm of the university where they still need to keep their guard up.
As fun as it can be to criticize SAIL and UMass Dartmouth, they can be commended for their initiative to probe the student body for information regarding what kind of events they would like to see on campus.
What remains to be seen is how that data collection actually impacts what kind of events are held. Are they cherry-picking all of the suggestions that tell them to host more barely advertised movie nights?
I doubt it; I think that the main issue with a university planning events for its students is “fellow kids” syndrome. Every time the school thinks they have it right, events get a little bit more cringe-inducing which drives away more and more people.
If the higher ups at UMass Dartmouth want to bring in more students at the events they hold, they are going to have to take a risk and try something completely new. They could try reaching out to local musicians, and even student musicians. This might raise attendance more than the rent-a-hypnotist they insist on bringing in every single year. Giving the community something they can actually care about and get invested in can make students excited to go to events.
One great example of this would be the annual drag show put on by the Center for Women Gender and Sexuality. This one event fills more seats in the auditorium than almost every other show that uses the same space. The drag show is exciting, brings in students from all walks of life, and is a fixture.
However disappointing it was that student acts were cut from the 2018 edition, the drag show was well advertised and more importantly, well received. It avoided the trap of feeling like an event the university thinks is “fun” and was genuinely a great way to spend an evening.
If UMass Dartmouth wants to bring in more students to campus-wide events, they need to find a way to advertise well, generate and keep interest, and bring in a diverse population of students. Until then, most of the campus will probably prefer to stay at home and have a beer.