Cultural events lack exposure at University

L By Megan Bell

last Tuesday I was fortunate enough to have free tickets to the ballet. The Compania Nacional de Danza gave a performance called “Bach: Multiplicity.” The ballet is based on the life and music of Johann Sebastian Bach. The concept and choreography of the ballet is novel and it was enjoyable to watch.

However, I noticed something in the audience which surprised and saddened me. The seats at Northrop Auditorium were almost completely void of University students. I am unsure if the reason for this is a result of students’ apathy toward cultural events or if it is a result of a lack of information about cultural events being readily available to students. Hopefully, it is a result of the latter.

I remember in my search for a college, one of the aspects that drew me to the University was the availability of cultural activities to students here on campus and in the Twin Cities area. After speaking to several students about this, I have learned many of them also chose this school for that same reason. However, many of those same students have had a difficult time finding the very cultural activities for which they came. The lack of students I saw at the ballet seems to confirm this. The billboards covered with signs for everything from apartment listings to protest rallies can be found all across campus. Yet those billboards very rarely, if ever, contain information about cultural activities on campus, such as the ballet I attended at Northrop Auditorium. So how are students supposed to find these events?

The answer to that question is surprisingly easy. Northrop Auditorium has several brochures containing information about the different performances of the season. For example, this year there is a dance series as well as a jazz one. Within these series there are several performances over a wide range of days, making them a great way for students to experience some of the culture available to them on campus. Alternatively, students can visit the Weisman Art Museum or attend one of the plays or concerts at the Ted Mann Concert Hall or the Rarig Center. There are also many music clubs and dance clubs that students can attend. The events are out there; students just have to be willing to find them.

There are many opportunities for students on this campus to experience the culture of the Twin Cities area. Yet for some reason, many students are unwilling to actively seek these opportunities. By choosing to remain ignorant of the cultural activities on campus, students are closing themselves off to the true experiences living on a large college campus such as this one gives them. Students need to take the initiative and actively seek events that interest them. There is such a huge variety of things to do, from eating a kind of food one has never tried before to seeing a ballet. It is the responsibility of each student to ensure that he or she receives the exposure to culture that completes a well-rounded education. Experiencing the many cultural activities this campus has to offer is something every student should attempt to do before graduation. College is a chance to expose oneself to new thoughts and ideas and there is no better way to do that than to find cultural activities to attend.

Megan Bell is a University freshman. Send letters to the editor to [email protected]