Students flock to Aztec Nights on The Mesa

by John Anderson

Every student has his or her own method of readjusting to a new semester after the debauchery of summer break. Some focus on flipping their nocturnal sleep schedules, others rush to check out class locations and get involved on campus, more still plan full-scale ragers and assess the best ways to avoid noise violations. Associated Students has developed its own way of welcoming the new school year.

For the fourth year running, A.S., CASE, Student Affairs and Business and Financial Affairs will be hosting Aztec Nights. With a noticeable lack of amusing things to do directly around campus, and in an effort to bolster school spirit by encouraging students to hang around instead of fleeing The Mesa to Pacific Beach, Aztec Nights fills the recreation gap usually occupied by first-week alcohol abuse.

While hosting an event for an organization with the groups’ combined budget of $250,000 is easy, our representatives have the daunting task of making their Aztec Nights more appealing than keggers. Despite this being an uphill battle where many students are concerned, A.S. is certainly not phoning in its efforts. Past events have included fire breathers, a stand-up performance by comedian and “The Soup” host Joel McHale, a Guinness World Records record-breaking dodgeball game and filled-to-capacity shows at the Open Air Theatre.

Even with the allure of boozing and rabble-rousing, in a huge number of cases A.S. is winning the battle for students’ attention, or at least sharing that attention, with fun and free events. Last year’s attendance was the most ever, and San Diego State has enjoyed a noticeable decline in crime on the weekends featuring Aztec Nights events.

Festivities usually start slowly, as many students have yet to arrive on campus until the first day of classes. Last weekend’s efforts were low-key, but successful, particularly on Sunday night. Students filled Aztec Green for a showing of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” on a giant, inflatable screen. The picture quality was impressive considering the venue and the sound was remarkably booming. In fact, the screening was so successful it begs the question why SDSU football and basketball games are not broadcast in a similar manner – especially the away games and sold-out home appearances.

Last weekend’s success bodes well for larger events to come. This weekend will feature a free comedy showcase, a large carnival on campus and a “Black Light Block Party” on Campanile Walkway, all of which should draw huge crowds. Perhaps most intriguing in the near future is who A.S. managed to book for this year’s free concert on Sept. 23, to be revealed later in the semester. Be sure to jump on tickets as soon as the performer is announced: Tickets will go fast.

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