Colleges offer many events year-round

By Donnie Simmet 2008

Everyday colleges and universities across the world host a wide variety of events, many of which are free. Most of these events receive very little publicity outside of campus flyers or calendars, and as far as I can tell, they are open to the public and waiting for discovery. Concerts, speakers, movies, dance parties, cultural features, and discussions up the wazoo.

Films can frequently be found at the University of Northern Iowa (This I know from experience; I assume it is a similar situation at other large universities). Many of these films are recent and popular, such as Pirates of the Caribbean. Some time ago I discovered an Ingmar Bergman film series, which met once a week for three weeks. I was previously unfamiliar with this amazing Swedish filmmaker.

Each time the small, informal group met we watched a movie and proceeded to discuss it afterwards.

I felt as if I had learned a great deal, and I was quite excited about this introduction to Bergman.

There is always somebody speaking at a college. Whether it is a politician or a movie star, somebody is always stepping up to the podium.

When I was a sophomore, I carpooled up to Decorah with other Amnesty members to see Paul Rusesabagina speak at Luther College. Rusesabagina has been internationally honored for saving 1,268 lives during the Rwandan Genocide.

The film Hotel Rwanda was based on his story.

Another memorable speaker is a local man who gave a presentation at UNI about the history of dance music. He was quite informative and when he was finished there were excellent refreshments (free of course).

As far as free music goes, Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, certainly takes the cake. They frequently have performers, which are more than worthy of the hour and a half ride. These include acts such as Spoon, Andrew Bird, Liars, Mason Jennings, The Mountain Goats, William Elliot Whitmore, and many more. Performances are usually small and awesome. Seeing Akron Family at Grinnell is one of the best shows I have ever been to.

There is a website ( which is frequently updated with new information and shows. Many times they fall on a Friday or Saturday night, providing the perfect opportunity for a small weekend road trip.

There is always something going on at the local colleges. One can stumble across events quite easily by checking their websites or roaming the campuses with an eye out for flyers.

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