Last Friday, hundreds of students poured into Ida Noyes in search of meat and music. Blues ‘N’ Ribs, one of the Council on University Programming (COUP)’s annual student social events, was a success, boasting local bands belting out Motown classics and long lines of students waiting for sauce-slathered ribs, corn muffins, and a variety of draft beers. The building was buzzing with energy, student chatter was everywhere, and it was an excellent way to kick off the weekend.
But, unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a while for a similar social experience. Events like Blues N’ Ribs simply don’t happen enough. This isn’t a criticism of COUP: They have a full slate of scheduling, as they also organize Fall Formal, Kuvia, Mardi Gras, Dance Marathon, and the Summer Breeze carnival. However, other student groups and the administration should take an active interest in organizing events on a larger scale. Not only would such events boost the recognition of the student groups that throw them, perhaps ensuring more funding and more participation later on, but they would also help change the old adage that the University of Chicago, and campus in particular, is the place “where fun comes to die.”
Big events like Blues ‘N’ Ribs have the effect of uniting the student community. They become entrenched traditions that transform campus into a hotspot of student social activity. They’re a great way to meet new people with the company of old friends, and an even better way to just kick back and realize that the U of C is about more than midterms and malaise. Campus events are too often organized by RSOs for specific subsections of the student body. While these smaller gatherings play a role, large events organized around fun—that one universal attraction—are just as important. It’s disappointing to realize that the only consistent, large-scale social gatherings on campus are the frat parties held every other weekend.
Plus, much of the Student Life Fee—which all students must pay—goes toward these small, insular activities. Some of it would be put to better use if it were used to create some larger events. There are plenty of music and entertainment groups on campus. Combining their resources and performances, along with some free food and booze, is all it takes to organize an event that becomes far greater than the sum of its parts.
This being said, such events are predicated on participation. Students almost unanimously enjoyed Blues ‘N’ Ribs, and it is their job to support similar events by creating, publicizing, and attending them. Opportunities like these are too enjoyable to let fall victim to general laziness or apathy. If the administration is willing to support more University-wide gatherings, students must meet them halfway and keep these events strong and lively.
The Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Viewpoints Editors, and an additional Editorial Board member.