It’s a warm Wednesday evening, into the second week of Fall term. Homework assignments, projects, and deadlines are rolling in. It’s 5pm, classes done for the day for most, students should be heading for dinner, study, or a workout, yet instead hundreds are queued outside of Graham Chapel. The students that haven’t checked their facebooks since school started might be wondering why hundreds of classmates are crowding the sidewalk all the way down to Simon. Whatever it is, a crowd this size indicates it has to be something fun planned by the Social Programming Board.
The Social Programming board arranges events for students to take a break from academic activities. The board brings events like concerts, comedy shows, and film screenings directly to the student body at on campus locations. Past events have included Wild featuring artists such as Jason Derulo, Young the Giant, as well other concerts and comedy shows featuring Chiddy Bang, H. Jon Benjamin, and, this past Wednesday, comedian Pete Davidson.
These events set the table for the student body to create experiences together on a campus scale. Moments that everyone can share, from the relatability of sitting around Mudd Field, waiting in a line 700 students long, to the exuberant chatter of students around me of different years and stories about the show we are about to see. Even, line itself presents an opportunity to engage with the unfamiliar members of the student body.
If you are the type who is eager to get in the front row, it’s best to get in line early, get tickets first, and then go grab a bite to eat from the Mission Taco catering provided for those skipping dinner. For those who want to see the show but are a bit more laid back or still finishing up some homework before the show, they can show up closer to when the show starts and get a ticket for the remote viewing of the show. Either way, everyone gets to take a break for an hour and a half, relax, and have a good laugh.
The Pete Davidson show was a fun diversion from academic study. A few friends and I used the campus Wifi to do homework on Mudd field while waiting for the remote viewing room to open. Once we got in we got to experience a favorite comedic writer performing a stand up show, tailored to WashU and to St. Louis. From his descriptions of his immediate impressions of our “Hogwarts” like campus to a gracious acceptance of the audience’s corrections about how he wasn’t performing in a “church” but a “chapel”. The performance was all our own memory to share together, whether we were in the chapel or Labsci working on our laptops until the last minute before the show.
Comedy is a connector, the response of laughter and uncomfortable silence when a joke hasn’t quite fallen right is something we could share as a community. The performers leaned into it…and we students did too.
Photo: Jiyoon Kang, Student Life