Minnesota State Fair highlights U’s activities

Jared Roddy

During the last two weeks at the Minnesota State Fair, thousands of people got a closer look at many of the University’s activities.

Throughout the 12-day event that ended Monday, fairgoers walked through the University Pavilion eyeing exhibits highlighting accomplishments, ideas and upcoming events.

For one new exhibit this year, organizers built a mini football

stadium display with authentic-looking bleachers and a seven-minute video.

University Athletics Director Joel Maturi said the video was intended to get people involved in making a Gophers-only on-campus stadium a reality.

“We’re trying to be informational with people,” Maturi said. “We want to evoke memories with those who did have experience with Memorial Stadium, but also to educate those who don’t and tell them how important it is, we think, for the future of our football program.”

Maturi said more than 5,000 people have requested e-mail stadium updates via a petition near the exhibit. He said he hopes to see a stadium on campus by 2008.

Finance senior Tyler Mohs, who worked at a ticket-sales booth at the fair, said some people showed interest in an on-campus stadium.

“We’ve got people coming up and buying single-game tickets saying, ‘we’ll buy season tickets when you get the new stadium,’ ” Mohs said.

Throughout the fair, alumni and sports fans lined up to buy football tickets, but were unable to buy hockey tickets because of a 30-year season-ticket waiting list, Mohs said.

Another new feature was housed in a yellow phone booth, where fairgoers with questions about the University could pick up Goldy’s Yellow Book Hotline phone and be directed by phone to University operators. From there, someone could answer their questions.

A regular fair feature was Maroon and Gold Day on Aug. 29. Activities included “Know Your U” trivia and a parade featuring the University marching band.

Keith Brooks, a volunteer at his college’s booth and a graduate student in work, communication and family education, gave visitors a chance to find out what his school is all about.

“(The fair) gives us more exposure to the greater community,” Brooks said. “Rural and suburban folks who don’t come in contact with us can come here and find out what we do.”

Students attending the fair enjoyed the University’s many booths, and people huddled around the displayed Heisman Trophy for a photo opportunity.

Mohs said people were drawn to the successes of the Gophers.

“People see all the trophies down here and it gives them a sense of pride,” Mohs said. “The axe is here, the Heisman; it gets people interested in the University.”

Although it was widely regarded as a good stop at the fair, first-year biology student Holly Meier said she wondered why more colleges weren’t represented.

“It really doesn’t do justice to how good the school actually is,” Meier said. “All the research and everything, all the great professors Ö Maybe they could have one person from each college here just to answer questions.”