Hope for campus events

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Friday night, I walked into the Multicultural Center’s Late Night @ USI event, ‘Rhythm Fest’ and was outside, headed home in approximately two minutes.

One glance over the RFWC balcony into a seemingly desolate gymnasium and I knew Rhythm Fest was going to bomb, and so did a lot of other people.

I arrive only 30 minutes into the event and was passed at the door by groups of students who had eaten the free food and decided there were better things to do with their Friday evening.

Rhythm Fest could have been great. I am sure the musicians and performers were fine. But nobody wants to stay at an event that seems dead and unpopular, which is what the sponsoring organizations set them up to be.

Having attended many of these kinds of events in the past two years, I have noticed a reoccurring problem that has cursed other late night activities like the International Extravaganza and the EDM dance party for Spring Fest last semester to name a few.

The problem is too much space.

Whoever coordinates these events must think that they will be so popular, that a three full-sized court gymnasium is necessary to contain all the raving students. But this is not the case.

When I walked into Rhythm Fest I saw small groups of mingling friends that were over 80 feet away from any other humans. A massive volume of space such as the RWFC makes a hundred people seem like 10 and dilutes any energy in the room to a level that is no fun at all.

On a positive note, the food table at Rhythm Fest was only 30 feet from the main stage, unlike last year’s International Extravaganza where I had to walk across three basketball courts just to get some hummus.

Here is my solution to the space problem. Utilize the nifty curtains that divide the gymnasium and host the next event in one court instead of three. Upping the density of the few students that initially show up will not only up the energy but will also give the appearance of higher attendance, which tells those who arrive later that this is an event that is fun, popular and worthy of a Friday night.

The university tries hard to organize fun programs for students, which I appreciate. but our student activities fee was also increased by $100 dollars this year, so a little more thought needs to go into making events not bomb.

In general, I think most students assume that the Late Night @ USI events are not that cool when compared to going to a bar or house party. But it does not have to be that way. The EDM rave during last Spring Fest was on point except for the relatively tiny mosh pit congregated at the center of an otherwise empty college sports arena, which made the whole thing awkward.

All I can say is that the International Extravaganza is coming up in a few months and I really hope I don’t have to exercise to get my hummus.

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