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Boulevard changing

Postby PonySnob » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:25 pm

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Article from Daily Campus:

On Jan. 22, Director of Athletics Rick Hart and Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. K.C. Mmeje announced the student section of the boulevard will move closer to the stadium next fall.

Over the last seven years, Hart’s department has discussed how to increase game attendance. In Fall 2018 they decided on The Stables. As of January 2019, they decided on the student boulevard’s move to the Mustang Mall next fall. The mall spans from Bolin Plaza, where the mustang statues are, to Doak Walker Plaza.

“I certainly understand that some students may be slow to warm to the idea. But, I’m hopeful that as we begin to work together and we start to reimagine what this experience might entail that there may be some excitement that’s created and others will decide to get on board,” said Dr. Mmeje.

white_boulevard.jpg
Students on the boulevard Photo credit: Rebecca Hannah
Hart’s intention to move the student boulevard was first mentioned in a Speaker’s Podium on May 1, 2018. During the Speaker’s Podium, SMU students or organizations are invited to express their concerns to the Senate.

“Athletics is willing to work with students to bring the boulevard into the stadium,” Hart said, according to Darian Taylor in the Student Senate’s minutes.

Since then, Athletics and Student Affairs have confirmed their decision to move the student boulevard. Over this year’s winter break, Senate wrote an open letter to Hart and Dr. Mmeje opposing the move.

“We recognize the concerns raised over student attendance at the football games and share those concerns. However, we believe it is not the role of Student Senate to improve attendance at the football games, rather it is the role of the Athletics Department to produce a product that students want to attend,” wrote Senate.

Additionally, Senate explained their reasoning against the move.

The move would decrease student attendance of football games, the opposite of what the administration wants.
The location of Dallas Hall Lawn is the heart of campus and the picturesque aesthetic should be maintained.
The potential downsize of tent space would be inadequate for student activities.
The new location would separate the students from the parents and alumni whose sections are on Bishop Boulevard.
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Alumni section of the boulevard Photo credit: Southern Methodist University
During the “Speaker’s Podium” on Jan. 22, Hart and Dr. Mmeje replied to oppositions of the move. Hart summed up how they felt about the letter.

“It’s been a mixed reaction. Candidly I’ll tell you that. There’s a group that wants to maintain the status quo and keep it where it is. I’d say there’s another group who seems to be in favor of placing the student boulevard closer to the stadium. And then there’s a group who have said we’re in favor of moving it but we prefer a different location than that,” said Hart.

Senate Speaker Benjamin Prengler asked if game attendance increased with the advent of the Southeast Commons since more students had to pass by the stadium going home from the boulevard. Hart replied that they did not see any change.

Another Senator asked if there was a compromise between having something for students outside of the stadium while keeping the boulevard where it is.

“You know again seven years we’ve been trying to think through all of these things and have tried some different iterations. Haven’t tried moving it closer. I just think it’s time to try that,” said Hart.

Senate Chief of Staff Greta Felten asked if they thought about having a trial-run of the new boulevard. Hart replied that his department plans to meet with students and others to reconfigure the boulevard in its new location. However, they don’t know how long this will take and so can’t guarantee this.

Another Senator asked if Hart and Dr. Mmeje think that football game attendance could be increased by a change in football performance or school culture. Hart had an anecdote about his college’s culture surrounding football games.

“Many of us went because it was an opportunity to have a great social experience and go to the football game. And that was what we did, and we wanted the team to be better. We knew we were going because we only got six chances to do it,” Hart said.

boulevard.png
Greek letters on the boulevard Photo credit: Mollie Mayfield
Third-year Senator Priya Young asked if they considered backlash to this decision, such as boycotting the boulevard. Hart and Dr. Mmeje said they were aware of the possibility, but hoped for students to warm to the idea.

Senate Endowment Chair Christian Parker asked if the fraternity tent sizes would be maintained. Hart said he wants the boulevard to remain inclusive of different groups, but would not be able to do so.

“The short answer is the space is laid out differently and so it would be difficult to duplicate whatever we have now to seven to nine depending on you know large tents all in one area. That’s not what this layout looks like. So we have to work together to have you help us define what does that look like,” said Hart.

Senate Diversity Chair Naomi Samuel asked if, in their eyes, this change was decided. Both Hart and Dr. Mmeje simultaneously replied, “It is.”
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby smupony94 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:02 am

Students don’t go to games

Much ado about nothing
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby 78pony » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:29 am

Based on his background, I can certainly see why Dr. Mmeje teamed with Hart to figure out ways to improve the Blvd experience and student attendance for football games?
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby SMUer » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:52 am

Bravo...takes away the long walk excuse...now we can literally herd them into the stadium.
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby Pony ^ » Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:05 am

How stupid is this administration? Just because they are closer to the stadium does not mean students will start going to games.

It starts and ends with a winning product and big brands coming to Ford. It's that simple.

Fire Hart.
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby BUS » Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:48 am

Well, don't know if this is going to help but, at least Hart is trying something. Other than free beer to all students and a free uber home - Hart is trying.

My thoughts. After next seasons win total the students will return as I honestly think Dykes has this wagon rolling toward Victory lane.

See you on the Boulevard.
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby AustinPerson » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:25 am

SMU students only care about trust funds, cocaine, and the next party. Must provide all three at the football game to get them to attend.
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby DanFreibergerForHeisman » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:29 am

This seems silly, but who knows.

Can we put up an electric fence?
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby Pony ^ » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:38 am

I lost all hope after we beat a ranked TCU on the road to move to 5-1 with a good UCF coming to town only to see about 5K people in the stands.

Unless we are in the big 12, get used to awful attendance. SMU solely relies on visiting fan bases to fill Ford. Even if we were undefeated with 2 remaining games, I'm confident Ford still wouldn't be a sell out.
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby ericdickerson4life » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:56 am

AustinPerson wrote:SMU students only care about trust funds, cocaine, and the next party. Must provide all three at the football game to get them to attend.


How about two out of three? I'm always up for some cocaine and a party! This seems like a pretty easy fix. We've discussed the hot tub club at the open end of the stadium. I just figured the coke would show up by default.

We have the vision. Just need the right person to see it through. smupony94?
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby Charleston Pony » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:22 pm

Pony ^ wrote:I lost all hope after we beat a ranked TCU on the road to move to 5-1 with a good UCF coming to town only to see about 5K people in the stands.

Unless we are in the big 12, get used to awful attendance. SMU solely relies on visiting fan bases to fill Ford. Even if we were undefeated with 2 remaining games, I'm confident Ford still wouldn't be a sell out.


I agree that attendance would still be weak, especially if the last home game was during the Thanksgiving break, but I remain hopeful that in the same scenario today (beating TCU and then having UCF come to town), we would see a much better crowd...possibly as many as 25k because both those teams are pretty well known...even to SMU people who have the slightest interest in football!
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby ponypatrick » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:27 pm

Pony ^ wrote:How stupid is this administration? Just because they are closer to the stadium does not mean students will start going to games.

It starts and ends with a winning product and big brands coming to Ford. It's that simple.

Fire Hart.



Amen.........Fire Hart !
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby SMU_Alum11 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:02 pm

Sadly, in my opinion, i think this will only hurt boulevarding rather than improving game attendance. Like the senate said, put a product out there worth seeing and you will garner interest. Moving people closer to the stadium might make them not show up at all.

Also a fun and exciting OOC helps drive kids to the game. If I recall when Baylor came to Ford, student attendance was so great it even trended with their reactions. Can't say that ever happens except for the big games!
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby ponydawg » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:09 pm

I'm guessing this has nothing to do with getting them closer to the stadium and more about aquiring grass area to rent to alumni for more money. All about real estate.

They've killed the atmosphere in Moody and now they are going after the BLVD.
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Re: Boulevard changing

Postby DanFreibergerForHeisman » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:18 pm

ponydawg wrote:I'm guessing this has nothing to do with getting them closer to the stadium and more about aquiring grass area to rent to alumni for more money. All about real estate.

They've killed the atmosphere in Moody and now they are going after the BLVD.

Yeah.

The scenery on the main part of the boulevard will certainly go down now.
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