If there is one true constant at Northwestern, it might just be the Pub Push™.

With hundreds of clubs and thousands of events happening on campus from quarter to quarter, seeing your friends’ Facebook updates featuring their club’s next event is almost guaranteed. And with so many amazing shows and performances a short walk away, why wouldn’t you take advantage of all that Northwestern has to offer while showing your love and support to your friends?

Of course, going to these events does come at a price, typically $5 at the door in cash or Venmo.  Yes, large productions like Burlesque often do have showings where students only have to pay what they can, and yes, Student Enrichment Services provides tickets for similar productions such as A&O. But, the bottom line is that the fees for going to on-campus events, supporting friends, and ultimately immersing yourself in the Northwestern experience can add up significantly.  Even if the costs associated with seeing shows aren’t prohibitive, they definitely don’t incentivize students to attend.  

While students do a fantastic job encouraging their peers to see the fruits of their labor, the university can do its part in creating greater accessibility to these shows as well as providing incentives by implementing a system in which students have ticket passes that they can use toward any one show per week.  This would mirror the way that dining services on campus provide two weekly meal exchanges at places like Mod Pizza and Fran’s Cafe.  In the case of shows, students would be able to scan their Wildcards at the door to enter, free of charge.  The productions, in turn, would receive the fee they would typically receive from the student from the ticket pass system.  

Image from Northwestern Box Office / North by Northwestern

The immediate objection to such a system is, of course, money; the pass system would probably come from university coffers, which might increase the activity fee.  

Fair enough, but there is a way for self-sustainability to be achieved: fees from the ticket system are transferred to the productions, which are then used to pay for costumes, renting spaces on campus, and other necessities.  

The university, by promoting more students to see shows, helps to increase turnout at events through the incentives of the pass system, thus reducing the amount of funding that Northwestern needs to allocate to clubs and productions for events.  In the end, under these conditions, the only significant net difference would be that more students would go to shows and engage in Northwestern culture.  

Natalie Olson, a first-year SESP student is ecstatic at the prospect of such a system being used.

“That would be so cool!” Olson said. “I’d love to see something like that on campus.  I would go to more things.”

This is obviously the ideal scenario, but even if the university runs the program at a bit of a loss, the long-term gains from greater participation from the student body could be significant.  

Even if the system were implemented on a small-scale specifically for low-income students, it would have an impact toward promoting inclusivity and accessibility to the vast opportunities to be enjoyed on-campus.  Overall, it would be a small step the university can take toward providing a better, healthier student experience on campus.