The High Quality/Low Attendance Problem on the Hill

By Editorial Staff

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One of Hamilton’s greatest qualities is the plethora of events and programming that are offered every single day. Each morning at around 7:30 a.m., the “Hamilton Events” email comes out and lists the many activities in which students, faculty and other community members can participate. These events, which include workshops, lectures, film screenings and even chocolate tastings are usually free and are right here on campus, never more than a 10 minute walk away. 

Although many of the events are interesting, substantive and enriching, attendance is often very low. This week, Janet Mock was on campus and most of the room was empty. Some audience members even left early despite the small crowd. This issue may sound inevitable because Hamilton is so small, but such low participation rates do not reflect the high quality of the events.

There are several possible reasons as to why these events are so poorly attended. First, as we all know, Hamilton students are swamped with work and constantly on the go. Of course, students here are scholars before all else, which requires copious amounts of time and effort. On top of that, students are athletes, club members, volunteers, campus employees; this list could go on and on. There is limited excess time in the day to do other things like attend lectures for fun.

Second, the sheer number of events that are offered every week is overwhelming. Each day, there are numerous options on the events calendar; more than most people could ever fit in their schedule. Some of those events even overlap, causing unnecessary competition and lower attendance at each. Perhaps Hamilton should consider quality over quantity. Although there are many compelling options offered now, it is possible that there are simply too many. Hosting fewer events may allow each one to get the attention it deserves.

After graduation, opportunities like these will not be free, they will not be sent to us neatly packaged in an email and we are not as likely to be within a 10-minute walking distance of the venues involved. We will need to seek them out on our own, a situation which makes it harder for us to discover new areas outside of the interests we already have. A Hamilton education goes beyond the classroom. Here, we have opportunities to experience world class lectures, entertainment and activities at our doorstep. To maximize the Hamilton experience, we should take advantage of as many of these events as our time permits.

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