Henry Rollins, Alkaline Trio, the Harlem Globetrotters and Mo Rocca. These are just a few of the big-name entertainment acts that have been brought to NMU within the last five or so years. And it was great to have something more than midterms to look forward to. Unfortunately, this year has been somewhat of a letdown in terms of student group abilities to attract recognized artists that appeal to a broader audience, and as a result the students get to miss out on an important part of the college experience.
College is, first and foremost, a place for intellectual pursuits. Education should be the primary focus for students and to an extent the people that come to Northern should reflect this. But college isn’t just about intellectualism; it also has a social component to it. That’s why there are so many small student groups – like The Real YTMND Experience or the Otaku Anime Club – on campus whose sole purpose is to put on and deliver events that cater to the entertainment of students.
Those smaller student groups typically appeal to a niche audience, but lack the funding to bring up larger acts everyone can get excited about. However, bigger groups with more resources, such as Platform Personalities or Northern Arts and Entertainment, have the ability to bring up bigger acts. Yet these groups have been lacking in their choices of entertainment.
This whole argument rests on the assumption that it’s important for students to be entertained. I know firsthand that seeing a great show with friends can be a stress reliever.
So if it’s such a good idea, and so far no one has been brought up here, then something must be being done about it, right? One look at the master calendar on Northern’s Web site shows us a list of NMU staples, but nothing new or exciting. One could argue that gas prices have something to do with the lack of events, but even with the high cost of traveling we’re still able to bring up acts like comedian Chad Daniels and the Golden Dragon Acrobats. And while there’s nothing wrong with those acts, it would be really nice to have someone who has national recognition.
Some student groups may be concerned about spending all of their budget on one event, but having one event is better than nothing. Remember when Ann Coulter spoke here last semester? The announcement energized this campus to a level I haven’t seen in the five years I’ve been a student here. And although I find Coulter to be neither entertaining nor intellectual, she’s nationally recognized, which allowed everyone to get behind the event in some way, whether you were for it or against it. If Coulter can make this campus come alive, imagine what a well-known musician can do.
This university is always criticized for having an apathetic students. But sometimes it’s obvious why students rarely feel compelled to get outside and do anything. With nothing exciting to look forward to, why should we feel motivated? If Northern wants to see its campus filled with energetic students, then one of our many student groups needs to use its resources to bring someone up here that will excite and inspire us.