Save Summer at Northrop

by Mark Stellmack

What are the problems with the Summer at Northrop series? Attendance and money. Why is attendance low on many days? The venue is not physically appealing.

The audience sits on hot, highly reflective concrete with little available shade. The area in front of the stage is small, and the music frequently is too loud for that area.

The solution to those problems is simple: Turn the stage around to face the mall. With tables on the sidewalks lining the mall, attendees can choose to sit at tables or on the grass in the natural shade of the trees. Attendees can sit as close or as far as they want, making it possible to converse while listening to the music. The stage would be beautifully framed by the flowers in front and the columns of Northrop Auditorium behind.

How can the funding issue be solved? One possible source of funds is external sponsorship. Certainly a big name like Coca-Cola would be willing to contribute money in exchange for some banners. Furthermore, with the increase in attendance that will accompany the more pleasant physical setting, the viability of other types of funding options will increase, like food vendors. Move the farmer’s market to the mall. Instead of having people spread out among physically separate parts of campus, bring the crowds to the same area.

It seems that with very minor changes such as these, the Summer at Northrop series can be extremely successful.

Mark Stellmack, University staff