Students should experience fine arts on campus


Courtesy of NIU

The NIU School of Theatre and Dance will begin running performances of “Edward II” Friday at the Sally Stevens Theatre at NIU.

By Parker Otto, Columnist

On Oct. 2, the  Huskies football team beat the Eastern Michigan Eagles in an exciting game that I had the pleasure of seeing in person. One of the best parts of being a student this year is that I can attend any NIU athletic event for free. However, students may not be aware that, just like athletics, they can see performances at the Schools of Music and Theatre and Dance, as well as galleries from the school of Art and Design, for free and students should take advantage of this.

Every semester, undergraduate students pay $90.86 per credit hour in general fees at NIU, according to the Office of the Bursar. The fees go to many elements of NIU like the Huskie Bus Line, Student Government Association, University Health Services, Athletics and Arts and Culture. 

These fees allow programs to be funded as well as allow NIU students to ride the buses, attend athletics games and fine arts events for free. This policy has been a recent development starting in Fall 2020, but this was a slow rollout due to the lack of student presence on campus during the 2020-2021 school year, said Andrew Glendening, director of the NIU School of Music. 

Since we as students help pay for these programs, we ought to get our money’s worth and attend as many events as possible.

For the School of Theatre and Dance, this means attending plays and dance concerts in the school’s production season, which has a performance almost every weekend of the semester. The School of Music constantly has events to attend, including ensembles, recitals and concerts every week as well as an annual opera in the spring. These events showcase original compositions from students as well as music from classic to modern artists. The Art Museum in Altgeld Hall also hosts exhibitions, which can include work by NIU students. 

Courtesy of NIU

By coming to events, like theatrical performances, students’ love for the arts can be awakened, said Robert Schneider, a professor of theater at NIU. 

“Even if they don’t like it, at least they know,” Schneider said. “What do you know if you haven’t tried it?”

Attending these events can also be worth the cost of a ticket since concerts like what the School of Music offers can cost between $150 to $200 per ticket in Chicago, Glendening said. 

But the most important reason why we should go to these events is to support our peers who work hard to bring this programming to NIU. 

By coming to these performances, we can also justify the practice of general fees going towards fine arts, which has allowed more money to come to the College of Visual and Performing Arts to pay for productions, stage crews, renovations to academic buildings and more material for the students to perform, including music by artists of color, which are currently underrepresented in the School of Music library, Glendening said. 

“You can’t solve a systemic problem without a systemic solution,” Glendening said.

Now that there’s a much livelier student presence on campus, we should make more of an effort to show the same support to students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts that we do to athletes.