In December, student government approved for $75,000 of reserve funds to be spent on the annual Spring Blast. The reserve funds come from student fees, which every student pays for in tuition, so it makes sense for the money be to put toward something that would benefit those students.
Student government plans to use a portion of the reserve funds to have a concert with a more prominent artist.
Other area universities currently participate in similar events. The University of North Dakota has hosted artists such as Snoop Dogg and Timeflies at its event, Springfest. The University of Minnesota hosts Spring Jam every year. Artists such as Matt Kearney and OK Go perform at its festivities.
The Spring Blast planning committee has not booked any artists for the event, but have a few potential performers in mind. However, we believe that this decision – since it is namely to benefit the students who attend – should be up to the student body, not just a single committee.
Once the student government committee has assembled a list of possible artists to perform at Spring Blast, a survey would be sent out to the students. This type of selection process would maintain the integrity and focus of Spring Blast as an event for students.
Once this decision has been made, there are many benefits to hosting this event.
The great part about Spring Blast is that it has the chance to provide the students of NDSU with a type of celebration that they have never had, and which students at many other universities enjoy. At the end of a semester of hard work and frigid temperatures, an outdoor concert and weekend-long festival atmosphere can provide a great stress relief and endorphin release for students.
Spring Blast, as a “last hurrah,” end-of-the-year party can also give students a chance to gather with their friends and classmates one last time before they leave school in the pursuit of summer jobs or post-graduate opportunities. After months of being stuck inside, isolated in classrooms and apartments, Spring Blast puts students back outside in an atmosphere that allows them to relax and celebrate the new season while hanging out with and running into friends old and new.
Additionally, Spring Blast can be used as a recruiting tool for prospective students. With UND providing Springfest for their students, NDSU ought to supply a parallel spring celebration in order to promote an academic atmosphere that is equally as vibrant and diverse. Over time, Spring Blast could become an iconic festival that rivals its equivalent gatherings in Grand Forks, Minneapolis and Duluth.
Student government has selected the Fargodome as its target venue for the signature Spring Blast concert, a facility that is large enough to support its attendance goal of 4,000 students. While the Dome certainly has the capacity to host such a concert, it may be a stretch to think that 4,000 students would make their way so far from campus just for a concert. Even some football games this year had trouble drawing that many students all the way to the Dome.
Additionally, though the Fargodome can hold the target audience, it is capable of holding more than six times more. With so many vacant seats in the venue, it could give the concert a dead, under-attended atmosphere. A venue that holds less people would make the concert feel like it was better attended, heightening the celebratory atmosphere.
Student government looked at a number of other venues, including the Bison Sports Arena and Churchill Field. Both of these, however, were deemed too small to host the desired audience. However, a prime venue may have been overlooked – Dacotah Field. Located closer to campus, and the other Spring Blast activities, Dacotah Field could draw more students to its seats for the concert. The outdoor atmosphere would add to the celebration of the new season and would keep students exactly where they want to be on a bright spring day – soaking up the sunshine.
Though Dacotah Field would put the concert at the mercy of the elements, the BSA could be held in reserve in the case of inclement weather. Though it is not the most attractive venue, it would seat plenty of students while providing just the kind of atmosphere needed for a successful concert. The last thing student government should want is for the concert to be reported as “ho-hum.” An atmosphere that doesn’t suggest a successful event will do little or nothing for promoting future Spring Blast activities.