Campus Entertainment Commission offers events almost every week. With options ranging from trivia nights to Zumba to Cornstock; there is, in theory, something for everyone. But, as a member of CEC who attends a decent number of events, I don’t see a very wide variety of students represented. And, if I’m being completely honest, it’s mostly the students who live on the east side of campus who are choosing not to take advantage of these opportunities. I will openly admit that, despite their best efforts, CEC isn’t catering to a diverse audience.
The relatively low attendance at some of CEC’s events isn’t entirely the students’ faults. Thursday and Friday night events exist for the main purpose of keeping students on campus on nights that are classified as “high risk.” Of course, these events don’t succeed in keeping everyone out of Mick’s on a Thursday night or away from house parties on Friday. In fact, the students who go to them tend to be the ones who wouldn’t be going out to bars or parties anyway. For those who do want to go out and go to the events, they just have to wait a little later to do so. So why do we even bother holding events on these nights? Well, it’s the reason CEC gets as much funding as it does. We’re “keeping kids off the streets” or something like that, I guess. But, instead of doing that, all we’re really doing is keeping our attendance low and students who might want to come if they didn’t have something “better” to do from coming.
Both the administration and the students have some work to do here. “Students,” in this case, means both CEC members and others. The administration needs to reconsider the requirement that CEC offer events on Thursday and Friday nights if they want the kind of funding they currently receive. To me, it seems that this requirement is helping no one and hurting everyone by making events less successful and providing students with less appealing opportunities.
CEC members need to continue to brainstorm new events that will attract students — ones that don’t necessarily fit the small, Lutheran, private school stereotype of constantly being family-friendly. Family weekend needs to be family-friendly. Friday nights don’t. I understand that it’s tricky being a school-sponsored organization and trying to provide age-appropriate entertainment for college students. We are gross. The Dean of Students is not. Somewhere, there is a happy medium. We’ve reached it with events that offer free food, like grocery bingo, but in terms of a lot of entertainers, CEC is lacking. By spending a weekend at NACA, the conference CEC attends every year to book performers, I’ve gotten the opportunity to see our group’s reactions to different kinds of entertainment. Sometimes we don’t get it right. But it’s also important to remember that, in a lot of ways, it is up to the audience to determine the quality of a performance. Concordia students could work on learning how to enjoy and engage in different types of performances. We are far too used to orchestra, choir, and band concerts.
Cobbers in general should be taking advantage of the opportunities that CEC is providing for them. As we’ve established, some of the events are mediocre. It’s not always easy to gauge how entertaining a comedian will be or how engaging a performer will be when we book them. Sometimes, we in CEC come up short. But a lot of them are actually pretty cool and CEC puts a lot of work into them. So come to the dances in the Centrum, come to trivia in the Maize, and support your peers at open mic nights.
And with that, I leave your corn buttered.