Last week, the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts announced that for the first time, they would be offering free student tickets to all of their Fall events. These tickets are not unlimited, meaning some students will still have to pay a discounted price.
Regardless, this initiative is a positive step forward for the University. UConn students should be able to freely access the arts, especially considering the fantastic programming we have in the center of our campus. World-famous comedians, musicians, symphonies and playwrights grace the stage every semester. UConn students should be encouraged to attend these events and enrich their comprehensive learning experience — and the best encouragement is a free ticket.
This step builds on recent developments in the Athletics department: All sports games this year are free to attend for UConn students, so long as they present their ID at the point of entry. The department decided to pursue this policy due to their opinion that students already pay into their coffers through student fees, and tickets to games should not add to that burden. Although not explicitly stated, it is clear that this policy change was designed to rejuvenate sluggish attendance numbers at men’s football and basketball games.
Jorgensen’s policy should have the same effect. Students are often discouraged by even a small sticker price for an event, so making the events free will encourage engagement with the arts. As Jorgensen Director Rodney Rock said in the Sept. 4th Daily Campus story on this development: “Cultural centers try hard to build audiences. It’s [the move to offer free tickets] an audience generating move.”
Offering programming and athletics to students free of charge is a welcome relief from a year of increased tuition and added fees. More departments and events at UConn would do well to follow in Jorgensen and the athletic department’s footsteps. We already pay thousands in tuition and fees to go to this university. On campus programming shouldn’t be an extra cost.