Seth Meyers’ event sparks hope for future campus events
The Ithaca College campus was abuzz for weeks, for what seems like the first time in forever, but it was not the battle cries of student revolts over restrictive administrative policies or even political fury. Instead, it was the excitement of having a celebrity guest speaker here on South Hill. Seth Meyers, former Saturday Night Live head writer and arguably the best Weekend Update host to ever work at Studio 8H, was coming to the Athletic and Events Center to grace us with his comedic presence. Not only that, but he was going to actually speak to students in a class organized by Robert Regan to talk about satirical programming and host a Q and A.
At an institution overshadowed by its Ivy-league neighbor, Cornell University, it is often difficult to keep up hope that the college can compete in this town. Especially after a particularly critical review of the 2012 Das Racist concert from the Cornell Daily Sun, which offered suggestions such as “build something that is both aesthetically pleasing AND functional.” (Side note: perhaps before you go to a concert somewhere, make sure you know where you’re going ahead of time). Despite this blip, the college continued to hold annual concerts and speakers, most of which were limited to an audience of students and faculty.
Finally, it seems as though the college has taken a chance and stepped up its game. Booking someone like Meyers showed that we can in fact play with the Big Reds, who have hosted such acts as Jon Stewart, Ke$ha, Ron Paul and even Meyers just in the past few years. But is the college even prepared to become a force in Tompkins County for these kinds of events? Lead audio-visual technician for Campus Center & Events Services Kevin Macchia said yes.
“We’re definitely capable of doing it, it’s just a matter of the administration taking the initiative of booking the acts,” Macchia said. “I almost feel as though they’re scared to because they think they won’t get a return on ticket sales. But if they did, we have the capability to support bigger acts like this.”
So what exactly could this mean for the future of events at the college? There has undeniably been a push from certain administrators to lure both academic and entertaining acts to the school. Bryan Roberts, associate dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications, for example, has made it his mission to up the ante of the college, and he’s certainly getting closer to achieving his goal. In the past few years, the initiatives he has taken to attract what can only be described as more captivating guest speakers has not gone unnoticed by the student population, particularly those in the school of communications.
The annual Park Distinguished Visitors series has brought in big names before; Randi Zuckerberg, Dan O’Shannon and Arianna Huffington, just to name a few. Another leap for the college’s reputable speakers initiative was 2013’s commencement speaker, “Bones” star and Park School alum, David Boreanez. However, few of the school’s other visitors have had the same kind of star appeal outside the world of communications as someone like Meyers.
It is also worth noting that the success of the Meyers event could have been partially due to strategic planning; the show happened to fall on one of Ithaca’s annual “Ithaca Today” admissions events. The pandering to perspective students was made abundantly clear with the show’s introduction listing all of the college’s wonderfully prestigious accomplishments. This kind of groveling is not uncommon, though it does beg the question: Are these events really for the students or for the school? It would be best to believe the former, and the fact that they did make tickets half price for those of us with an Ithaca College ID supports the idea that thecollege hosted the event for students. So, it is natural to assume that the future may hold more high-profile events.
“I’d like to see them get a big name band for IC Kicks Back,” Macchia said. “I mean, Cornell got Ludacris to play at Slope Day this year. We could definitely do something big like that in the future.” All that’s left is for us to take that chance.
Rachel Maus is a junior Cinema & Photography major who thinks we really need to step up our game. Really. Email her at rmaus1[at]ithaca.edu.