Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s soccer falls to Central Connecticut 3-0 in home opener -

August 19, 2017

Preseason serves as opportunity for young UMass men’s soccer players -

August 13, 2017

Amherst Fire Department website adds user friendly components and live audio feed -

August 11, 2017

UMass takes the cake for best campus dining -

August 11, 2017

Two UMass students overcome obstacles to win full-ride scholarships -

August 2, 2017

The guilt of saying ‘guilty’ -

August 2, 2017

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

July 10, 2017

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

Updating the campus scene through arts at the ISB

Last week, I began looking into different ways the University of Massachusetts may be able to reinvigorate its campus community. Of course, there is much school spirit already, but it is just as obvious that more could be done.

In talking with a few readers after writing last week’s column, I received some criticism about the idea that the University needs to improve its community feel; many students are quite happy with UMass the way it is now. While some may feel this way, I base my thinking on the fact that it is impossible to ever be completely satisfied with something. What determines mine and I am sure many people’s outlook is that what is good can be made great, what is bad can be made good. This is not selfishness or ingratitude towards what we have, but merely a desire to improve the world around us.

As a UMass student, my world most often involves the University campus, decisions by the University’s administration and ways that the University can become a top-flight, nationally revered institution.

It seems the University, in its effort to ease the transition from high school to freshman year, may have lost its grasp on the University-wide community. In trying to make Southwest a quieter and more friendly living area, it has sent thousands of freshmen into Southwest’s freshmen only dormitories. These freshmen halls, in every part of campus, promote a singular community, not one of UMass as a whole. The Isenberg School of Management (SOM) seems to be an entity all to itself. There are strong relationships within SOM, but business students often seem a distant part of the UMass community. It is with this point of view that I felt new ideas could form, breaking down these barriers and creating a more vibrant UMass campus from which all students and faculty would benefit.

My second idea for an alternative way to push community sprung from daily walks from Worcester Dining Commons to class after breakfast. For those who have not yet checked out the new Integrated Sciences Building (ISB), they are missing out on one of the nicest and newest academic buildings the campus has to offer. Clean, brightly lit and modern, ISB is an impressive addition for science majors. The most striking feature of ISB, for me however, is outside the building. Between where the building forms an elbow, there are two rows of cement cut into the side of the hill. Looking up onto a small slope as Orchard Hill beckons in the background, one cannot help but feel it would be a great stage for a musical performance, or any kind of performance. Once the weather gets warmer, why not hold performances or concerts by either school groups or independent groups?

The school’s offerings of such events are tightly constrained to regular plays and concerts held in the Fine Arts Center or the Mullins Center. Sure, the University offers its spring concert and brings other acts to the Mullins Center during the year, notably Jay-Z this year, but these are either catered to a small minority on campus or to such a large audience that the concert could just as well be at a regular venue, not in a University gym.

Why not seek out groups who want to perform and host them outside the ISB in its mini and natural amphitheater?

Make it a fundraiser, advertise it, just do something new and different. Showcase a movie outside against the giant backdrop of ISB with students allowed to relax on the hill. Granted, this would not work except for a few months in the spring and fall, but it would be something new and refreshing.

As a college town right next door to Northampton, Amherst must be surrounded by plenty of bands that would want to hang out and play some music on random nights. Tucked into the corner of the ISB, acoustics would form naturally, students could grab a seat on the grass and just relax. For an event to be successful, it does not need to attract throngs of students, but I know UMass-grown cover bands like the Sticky Bandits would appreciate any chance to play.

One might ask what the point of trying to have concerts or performances outside the ISB is, when they are held in the FAC or on certain parts of campus like Bowl Weekend up on Orchard Hill. These events are either badly marketed or put on distinctly for one particular part of the campus. A series of performances tied with a serious attempt at spreading the news, even just cards in the DCs, might do wonders for bringing students from all parts of campus to one central location for some music, a theatrical performance or a fundraiser. Again, the logistics might be out of hand; preventing drinking, getting the administration to go along with it, but it is just another of those out-of-the-ordinary events which might mix things up for the UMass community.

Nick Milano is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at nmilano@student.umass.edu.

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