This year, UCA and the Student Activities Board have stepped up their game with public appearances at Reynolds Performace Hall. While there have been notable public appearances in the past, the number of appearances by speakers who draw big crowds is on the rise.
One of the larger acts to come to Reynolds in years was comedian Bill Cosby, who gave a great performance with his standup act last September. Cosby’s appearance, which sold out quickly, was a boon for UCA’s public appearances and helped bring people to the university. Cosby was a great choice for Reynolds because he is well-known by both students and older generations.
Another big name, astrophysicist and author Neil Degrasse Tyson is a speaker best known by young people and students, but still draws large crowds when he speaks. Tyson, who will speak Feb. 27, sold out Reynolds about as quickly as Cosby. His presentation will likely focus on more academic topics, but will undoubtedly be interesting and rife with humor.
The ticket sales for these two events were sudden and not well-advertised to students, most of whom were not on campus when tickets went on sale during the summer. However, the events themselves should be commended for the prestigious nature of the speakers.
To top off the big speakers this year, comedian, author and woodshop owner Nick Offerman, of “Parks and Recreation” fame, will perform at Reynolds on Feb. 6. Offerman’s performance is also sold out, but is another good example of Reynolds bringing strong performances to UCA.
Other performances, such as ice skating performance “Broadway on Ice” and ballet “Alice,” may draw fewer students in, but will play an equally large role in getting people in the area involved on campus. “Broadway on Ice” will be the first time Reynolds will turn the stage into an ice rink. This performance is a good example of UCA attempting to branch out to more diverse performances.
Reynolds is UCA’s conduit to the surrounding community, and the events that happen there are a great way for UCA to advertise and look more prestigious.
This also allows the surrounding community to become more involved in UCA. Getting the community involved is an important aspect of a university’s mission.
Having a variety of funny, fun and exciting shows helps bring people to UCA and show what the campus is capable of. Big names may cost the university more and ticket prices may rise for larger events, but this will be offset by more people getting a taste of what UCA has to offer students and the surrounding community.
Reynolds should continue to try and attract big names to help keep positive attention focused on UCA and to draw larger crowds to the university’s big events.