Activities Board lures MTV to campus
president Kelly Snow, '00,
says the group plans to continue organizing "larger events
and larger-scale programming."
hundred students lined up on campus this fall to audition for
The Real World, a popular MTV show that films a group of
young adults living together in a great location in a house provided
by the cable network. The auditions were part of the MTV Campus
Invasion, which hit the University of Chicago on October 23.
the day, the national tour turned an overcast and chilly Bartlett
Field into a somewhat sparsely populated MTV Village, featuring
activities centered around two other popular MTV shows, The
House of Style and Road Rules, as well as new music
and Sony Playstation tents. The spectacle proved too much for
about a dozen students who carried placards outside the tents
and wrote editorials to the Maroon criticizing the event's
corporate ties. Later in the evening, the tour sold out Mandel
Hall with a concert by rock bands Garbage and Lit.
festival, which travels to dozens of universities every fall,
is filmed by MTV camera crews, who will piece together footage
from the U of C and other locations to air at a later date.
role is to give us a national presence," says MAB president Kelly
Snow, a fourth-year. "MAB's role was to get the word out about
the event and to be the on-campus presence, which is ultimately
what matters because it's a University event."
invasion was one of the many campus events organized by the Major
Activities Board (MAB). MAB, the University's student-run entertainment
buyer, works to bring "large-scale entertainment to campus at
an affordable price," says Snow. The 12-member board, consisting
of talent buyers, marketers, technical directors, and hospitality
coordinators, is responsible for organizing three shows a year
for Chicago students: two 1,000-seat shows in Mandel Hall during
fall and winter quarters and then the larger, outdoor Summer Breeze
festival during spring quarter.
year, with a greater emphasis on student preferences--garnered
through questionnaires and suggestion forms on the organization's
Web site--Snow hopes to bring more popular events to Chicago: "We're
pushing for the prestige of known people--known entities like MTV--coming
to our campus."
acts have included Busta Rhymes, Sonic Youth, Beck, A Tribe Called
Quest, and Liz Phair, but bigger-name bands tend to avoid the
U of C because of budget and venue-size constraints, says Snow.
"Way back in the day, we had U2," she notes. "Now it's ten, 15
times our budget."
says she hopes to capitalize on the success of the MTV event by
coordinating with other universities to bring more big acts to
campus. MAB has just begun to consider its winter and spring shows
and plans to pool resources with Northwestern in hopes of roping
in another MTV-like attraction. "It's all part of our commitment
to bring larger events and larger-scale programming,"says Snow.
"We want to get more students involved, get better bands, and
have a more popular reaction."