Football Saturdays overrun campusBy Nathan James | 11/19/2014 9:23pm
I don’t care much about football. I know that’s a strange thing to say around here, but it’s true, and I can’t explain why. So on gamedays, I use my time to do other things. I go to the rec center, study at the library or visit with similarly-inclined friends.
Or at least, I’d like to. But the sad fact of it is that it’s hard to do much of anything on a gameday that isn’t football-related. Gorgas is closed, as are both rec centers. Lakeside, Burke and Chick-Fil-A are almost the only places to eat. For the most part, if football is happening on campus, nothing else is.
Parking is another issue. On gamedays, many slots that are generally available for student parking are cordoned off for special, football-related purposes. Everyone knows that it’s a struggle to find parking on campus at the best of times, but on gamedays, leaving your spot unprotected exposes you to the very real risk that you simply won’t have any place to put your car on your return.
I understand that a huge, overwhelming majority of students will never be bothered by these problems. There just isn’t much demand for non-football related resources on gameday, so it makes financial sense to close a lot of functions down when the game is happening. The infrastructure of this university just isn’t designed for people to do other things during this time.
But putting that aside for a second, if you’re one of the tiny minority who lives on campus and doesn’t want to watch football, you really aren’t accommodated. You can go to Rodgers, eat some homophobic chicken and return to your dorm. That’s about it. Trying to leave campus is an exercise in futility and likely to get you stranded.
So what am I asking for? Simply put, it would be nice if the University left a skeleton crew to keep some University functions running on gamedays. I’m not asking for full functionality, but I think it would be reasonable to pay a few employees time and-a-half to keep Gorgas and maybe another dining hall open. The same goes for one of the rec centers.
Another welcome change would be more accessibility on Fridays after 5 p.m. From this point on, visitors and tailgaters dominate the campus, and it can be extremely difficult for anyone who has class, activities or a generalized social impulse around campus at that time.
The important thing to understand is that for many of us – many thousand, in fact – the campus is our home. But for non-football fans, our home feels a lot less welcoming come Saturday. Obviously this isn’t a problem of monumental proportions, but I think that a few small changes could make an immense difference for myself and my campus-dwelling brethren. And I think that’s definitely a worthwhile goal.
Nathan James is a senior majoring psychology. His column runs weekly.