For years I have heard many students complaining that there “is nothing to do at Colgate.” Clearly the sentiment behind this statement is that there is nothing social to do aside from parties centered around drinking. Whenever I would hear this from students, I had to agree because I saw little going on as well. I decided to get involved after leading a study group to Cardiff and observing what was offered there. They had national and international acts coming through their student center on a weekly basis and I thought that Colgate would be able to pull
something like that off, albeit on a smaller scale.
With the help of administrators in the Dean of College office, funding was secured to experiment this year. I volunteered to take the reigns to provide entertainment for student and now have three interns working with me to try to give Donovan programming some traction via advertising, give-aways and getting other student groups involved.
Since September, Donovan’s Pub has hosted a national act every Friday that school has been in session. We have had comedians, mentalists, hypnotists, bands and game shows. And these are not struggling acts, but professional acts with many, many credits to their names. However, it has always been a struggle to get students to attend. We have tried large three-by-four-foot posters, in addition to the typical 11-by-17-inch posters. We have used Facebook events and tweets. This past week we passed out flyers with five-dollar coupons, but only six were cashed. I know that as students you are deluged with events and announcements, so I am writing this piece to call your attention to the goings-on at Donovan’s Pub.
As I am only doing this for one year (I do have a day job), I am a bit fearful of the future of campus entertainment programming. For example, the last two Friday acts each had about 15 students in attendance (one a seven-time nominee for Entertainer of the Year, the other a finalist on Season Two of Last Comic Standing). I am not the one to decide whether programming continues or not, because the low turnout could be because you don’t know about the events, as opposed to being not interested.
The Colgate social attendance culture seems to be that if you have not already heard of an entertainer, then you don’t want to go see them. But this is a liberal arts school where exploration is valued. You never know when you’ll find a hidden gem (e.g., Daniel Tosh used to be a part of the very circuit from which we have been hiring comedians). Then you can say, “Hey, I saw so-and-so back when…” Or you can just enjoy an hour or so of good times.