MSA rallies students to give free time, get a free concert

Elizabeth Cook

Many students scrape money together to go to a concert, but with a little volunteer work they can now go for free.

The Minnesota Student Association is behind “Lend a Hand, Hear the Band,” a free concert scheduled for April 20 for University students who donate 10 hours of community service by mid-April.

MSA President Max Page said students can help out with student groups, neighborhood organizations and nonprofit organizations.

Students can participate in MSA-approved events – such as a Feb. 8 blood drive or a Feb. 10 dance marathon – or get approval for other volunteering events.

Mayor R.T. Rybak has committed to rallying students on campus to become involved, Page said.

Students and others are also planning a supply drive for troops in Iraq and some environmental-based programs.

“As the semester goes on there will be many more events that will pop up,” Page said.

It’s currently unknown who will perform in Northrop Memorial Auditorium for the event.

MSA Vice President Monica Heth said they thought they had Damien Rice signed on, but it fell through.

Community integration senior Chris Souza said it’s a great concept, but since he takes 18 credits and works two full-time jobs, he doesn’t think he’ll have time.

“My schedule alone, I’m pretty packed,” he said.

Renee Destaubin, a kinesiology junior taking 20 credits, said she’s volunteered in the past doing church activities but isn’t sure there’s time in her schedule this semester.

“It would be hard just for me, because I’m taking a really heavy load this semester,” she said.

Heth said the conversion from actual hours to hours earned will be different too.

Giving blood will count for two and a half hours, rather than the 15 to 30 minutes it actually takes. Inversely, a student will receive about five hours for going to a 12-hour dance marathon, she said.

“We’d like to see students do a variety of things or something that’s more directly involved in the community,” Page said.

Organizers will begin promoting the event shortly, he said.

“We’d like to make it a tradition,” Page said.

The University of Iowa has a similar program called the 10,000 Hours Show, in which students volunteer 10 hours to go to a free concert.

In the past, bands such as Cake and Ben Folds Five have performed.

Not having a confirmed act is a concern for kinesiology senior Andy Rapacz.

“It sounds like a good idea, depending on who is playing,” he said.

Because there’s no other way to get into the concert except by volunteering, Rapacz said, it would be a good motivation to see the show.

Page said volunteering will be an opportunity to lessen some of the “animosity between students and the neighborhoods” by putting people side-by-side to help out for the same cause.

Though it’s not known who will perform, it will be big, he said.

“It’ll be a large act, similar to something the size of Spring Jam,” Page said.