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STUDENT GOV’T INSIDER: Home games, scheduling issues thwart lectures, concert plans

Marcela Berrios | Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Scheduling conflicts kept the Student Union Board (SUB) from bringing big-name musicians and speakers to campus this fall, SUB manager Phil Ross said.

SUB is charged with providing the student body with social and cultural programming. Ross, a senior, said the group is having a slow year with few guest speakers, few small-to-medium-sized shows and no large concerts.

Old staples like SUB movies and AcoustiCafe seemed to be the only SUB events happening this semester.

Ross said the lack of events was beyond SUB’s control. An intense home game schedule is to blame.

With only six non-football weekends to work with before December, Ross said SUB was unable to book a major musical act to perform on any of the open nights.

Last year, SUB brought singer Ben Folds to campus for a sold-out concert at Stepan in November.

This year, football schedule constraints forced the group to focus on smaller events in smaller venues, like the Dec. 1 presentation of band The Format at Legends. Ross said about 750 people packed Legends above capacity during the concert.

Legends was also the site of another SUB hit this semester, a show by comedian Ben Bailey on Oct. 5.

Scheduling conflicts have persisted with other potential speakers and artists SUB spoke to this fall.

“None of them came to fruition,” Ross said. “Either their schedules wouldn’t allow it or ours wouldn’t.”

Ross said he and his colleagues expect that to change in 2008. They’re still in talks with some of the speakers that fell through this fall, Ross said, and they’re looking into new ones as well.

With an election year around the corner, he said SUB has considered focusing on political speakers next semester. Earlier this semester, the group focused on bringing artistic speakers to campus for the Notre Dame Literary Festival, which featured a poet, a novelist, a journalist and a writer for “The Simpsons.”

Throughout November, SUB and the Creative Writing Program teamed up to host workshops, readings and question-and-answer sessions featuring the visiting writers. Ross said he saw the numbers of students at the events grow as the month progressed.

“The first couple of speakers had smaller crowds than the later ones,” Ross said. “And that could’ve just been that the festival had gained momentum by then, but maybe we just needed to do a better job promoting the events early on. It’s always tough getting students to notice and attend these things on weeknights so you really need to publicize them well. And that’s something we’ll be working on next semester.”

Grade Awarded to the Student Union Board: B-

Home football games made weekends busy this semester, but SUB could have held other fun events, like last spring’s SNL speaker series, in place of a major concert.