Where to Be

Fab Four Fan Fesitval – Beatles Tribute concert
April 1, International Center, 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Free for MSU students with ID
For more information please contact the University Activities Board at (517) 355-3354

Student Film Festival
April 1 & 2, Wells Hall, 9:15 p.m.
Free for MSU students with ID, $2 for others
For more information please contact the University Activities Board at (517) 355-3354

Flamenco Class
April 2, 218 IM Circle, 1 – 2 p.m.
Sponsored by La Casa
For more information contact Candace at shankinc@msu.edu

Doc Severinsen with the Greater Lansing Symphony Orchestra
April 5, Wharton Center, 7:30 p.m.
$15 for students, other tickets $25 – $42.50
For more information please contact the Wharton Center

2006 Neal Shine Ethics Lecture
April 6, Kellogg Center, 4 p.m.
Daniel Okrent, former public editor of The New York Times will speak
Free admission
For more information please contact Jane Briggs-Bunting at (517) 353-6430

Understanding Wahhabism
April 7, Case Hall Spartan Club, 9:30 a.m.
A discussion about Islamic fundamentalism presented by the MSU Muslim Studies Program
Free admission
For more information please contact Mohammed Ayoob at (517) 353-3538

Great Books Discussion
April 8, Capital Area District Library Main Branch, 2 – 3 p.m.
Discussing Saul Bellows’ “Seize the Day”
For more information please call (517) 367-6363

Spring Women’s Leadership Celebration: Reconnect, Reflect, and Recognize
April 12, MSU Union Parlor Rooms, 4 – 6 p.m.
Free admission
For more information please contact Jodi Roberto Hancock in the Women’s Resource Center, (517) 353-1635

David Copperfield: An Intimate Evening of Grand Illiusion
April 15 – 16, Wharton Center Great Hall
Tickets are $25-$55
For more information please contact the Wharton Center

Wheelchair Challenge
April 21, IM West, 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Wheelchair hockey and basketball with MSU Varsity athletes and wheelchair teams
$3 for students with IDs, $5 general admission

Project Green: International Community Service Fair
April 22, Vet Med Field, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Booths hosting different community projects that students can get involved in that day will be set up
For more information please contact Allison Cherrette at cherrett@msu.edu

Race for the Place
April 23, Jenison Field House, 1 – 3 p.m.
A race to raise money for MSU’s Safe Place domestic violence shelter
$20 admission
For more information please contact (734) 546-8951

La Causa: Witness the Movement
April 23, Wharton Center Pasant Theatre, 1:30 p.m. & 4 p.m.
Tickets are $7
For more information please contact the Wharton Center

Posted in State SideComments (0)

Where to Be

East Lansing Children\’s Film Festival
March 1 NCG Cinemas 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $5 for children and $7 for adults.
For more information please call (517) 853-0502.

Open Mic Night
March 1 MSU Union Main Lounge 8:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
Open to all MSU students. Sign up at the door.
For more information please contact the University Activities Board. (517) 355-3354

MSU Philharmonic Orchestra
March 2 Fairchild Theatre 7:30 p.m.
Presented by the school of music. Tickets are $8 for the public and free for students.

Fresh Squeezed Open Mic
March 2 Magdalena\’s Tea House 7:30 p.m.
An open mic night for women. $3 entrance fee.
For more information please call (517) 487-1822

Mosaic Mirror Workshop
March 12 Delphi Creativity Center 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Techniques to make home art. Class fee is $50.
For more information please call (517) 394-4685

Lansing Home and Garden Show
March 16 Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock 3:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Tickets are $7 for adults, $3 for children.

B.B. King in Concert
March 16 MSU Auditorium 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $47.50-$52.50. For more information please contact the Wharton Center.

Aerosmith in Concert
March 17 Breslin Center 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $79.50 and $49.50 plus fees. For more information please call (517) 432-1989.

Maple Syrup Festival
March 18-19 Fenner Nature Center 11:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
See how maple syrup is produced and enjoy!
For more information please contact (517) 483-4224

MSU Pow-Wow of Love
March 18-19 Jenison Field House 10:00 a.m.-10:00p.m.
Celebrates the songs, dances, and art of the Native American culture.
Tickets are $7 for adults and free to MSU students with ID.
For more information please call (517) 432-7153

Professors of Jazz and Ingrid Jensen in concert
March 22 Grand Tier Lounge of the Wharton Center 9:00 p.m.
Jensen is a 1989 graduate of the Berklee School of Music and has recorded three CDs.
Tickets are $30. For more information please contact the Wharton Center.

MSU Museum Wine Tasting Benefit
March 24 MSU Museum 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Taste wine and walk the musuem. The night benefits museum programs.
Tickets are $30. For more information please contact the MSU Museum at (517) 355-2370.

Knight Center for Environmental Journalism Lecture
March 28 191 Comm Arts Building 4:00 p.m.
Greg Lyon, broadcast journalist, will speak on \”Environmental Reporting: Finding a Voice in America, Inc.\”
This event is free. For more information please contact Jim Detjen (517) 353-9479.

Gretchen Wilson and Big & Rich in Concert
March 30 Breslin Center 7:30 p.m.
Rescheduled from its Nov. 25, 2005 date, all tickets will be honored.
Tickets are $42.50 and $32.50. For more information please call (517) 432-1989.

Posted in State SideComments (0)

Where to Be

Study Abroad Fair
February 2 on the Second Floor of the MSU Union 12:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
A fair for students interested in studying abroad. Passport photos can be taken for $11.

Monster Nationals
February 4 at the MSU Breslin Center 7:00 p.m.
A monster truck show. Tickets are $15 in advance and $17 at the door.
For more information please contact Lyndsey Burchardt at (517) 432-1989

American Culture Through a Japanese Lens: A Discussion with Shinichiro Watanabe
February 9 in Room 303 of the International Center 4:00 p.m.
Special talk with noted Japanese anime director Shinichiro Watanabe. Admission is free.
For more information please contact Van Nguyen at (517) 353-1680

Magdalena\’s Open Stage Night
February 9 at Magdalena\’s Tea House 7:00 p.m.
The stage is open to all performers. Cost $3.
For more information please call (517) 487-1822

The Environment and Economic Development in Chad: Impact of Oil Exploitation
February 10 in room 201 of the International Center 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow Kladoumbaye Modjingar to speak.

Communication Career Conference
February 10 on the Second Floor of the East Lansing Marriott 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
This year\’s conference includes speed networking. Admission is free.
For more information contact Lisa Hinkley at (517) 355-6500

Keith Urban in Concert
February 11 at the Breslin Center 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $45 and $39.50.
For more information contact Lyndsey Burchardt at (517) 432-1989

MSU Fringe Festival: James Luna
February 12 at the Pasant Theatre 7:00 p.m.
A discussion by a Luiseno Indian who lives on the La Jolla Reservation near San Diago. Luna confronts the problems of his people with honesty and humor. Tickets are $15 and $8.50 for students.
For more information call the Wharton Center at (517) 432-2000

MSU Forum: Moving Michigan Cities Back on Track
February 15 in the Mackinac Room in the Anderson House Office Building downtown Lansing 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
A discussion of Michigan cities, their status and future will be at the center of this forum. Admission is free.
For more information contact the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.

MSU Repertory Dance Concert
February 16 at the Wharton Center 7:30 p.m.
Contemporary dance concert featuring classics from the world\’s dance heritage. Tickets are $10.
For more information please contact the Wharton Center (517) 432-2000.

MSU Rodeo Club\’s Spartan Stampede Rodeo
February 17 at the Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education 8:00 p.m.
The thirty-seventh annual Spartan Stampede Rodeo. Tickets are $15, $10, and $12.
For more information contact Lyndsey Burchardt at (517) 432-1989

Let Freedom Ring
February 26 at the Pasant Theatre 1:30 p.m.
Features compositions by jazz artists who participated in the civil rights movement. Tickets are $7.
For more information contact the Wharton Center.

Posted in State SideComments (0)

Where to Be

Chronicles of Narnia Presentation
December 1, 2005 in the MSU Union Parlors from 7:30 to 9:30 PM
A presentation on filmmaking with a Q & A session and an extended trailer of the movie.
For more information contact Maria Kretowicz at kretozi1@msu.edu
AIDS Awareness
December 1, 2005 at Magdalena’s Tea House, 2006 E. Michigan Ave, from 6:00 to 7:30 PM
Presented by YOU Service Corps and Lansing Area AIDS Network
For more information please contact (517) 487-1822
MSU Marks World AIDS Day
December 1, 2005 at MSU Kresge Art Museum from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
A reminder that the AIDS pandemic is not over.
For more information please contact (517) 353-9834
Cork and Canvas
December 1, 2005 at the Lansing Art Gallery, 113 S. Washington Square, from 5:00 to 7:00 PM
Wine tasting benefit for the Lansing Art Gallery.
Tickets are $25.
For more information please contact (517) 374-6400.
Holidays in Old Town
December 2, 2005 at Grand River Ave. and Turner Street at 6:00 PM
Light the Old Town holiday tree and sing carols.
For more information please contact (517) 485-4283
Salsa Night
December 2, 2005 in the MSU International Center from 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Free dance lessons from 9:00 to 10:00 pm and a live DJ all night.
For more information please visit www.uabevents.com
Michigan Women’s Historical Center Annual Holiday Open House
December 3, 2005 at the Michigan Women’s Historical Center, 213 W. Main Street, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Victorian holiday cheer with stories and singers.
For more information please contact (517) 484-1880
Seasons of Light
December 3, 2005 at Abrams Planetarium at 8:00 PM
Light show which showcases holiday customs.
$3 adults, $2.50 students and senior citizens, $2 children
For more information please contact Mary Gowans at gowansma@pa.msu.edu
Holiday Arts and Craft Show
December 3 and 4, 2005 in the MSU Union from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Handmade holiday gifts from over 200 vendors.
For more information please visit www.uabevents.com
Christmas in the Village
December 4, 2005 in the Meridian Historical Village, 5151 Marsh Road, from 2:00 to 5:00 PM
Tour six historic buildings, watch the community tree lighting. This year’s theme is “Toys of Christmas Past.”
For more information please contact (517) 347-7300
Chamber Music Recital
December 5, 2005 in Hart Recital Hall at 6:00 PM
Sponsored by the MSU School of Music
Family Research Initiative Speaker Series
December 6, 2005 in The Kellogg Center, Room 101, from 10:00 to 11:30 AM
“Being Together and Working Apart: Dual-Career Families and the Work-Life Balance” presented by Barbara Schneider, Michigan State University.
For more information please contact Jan Bokemeier at families@msu.edu
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Faculty, Staff and Graduate Student Association Holiday Party
December 8, 2005 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM
For more information and directions to the location please visit www.msu.edu/user/glfsa
MSU’s Home for the Holidays
December 9, 2005 in the Wharton Center Great Hall at 8:00 PM
Over 400 of Michigan’s most talented musicians, including many from the MSU School of Music.
Tickets are $12-25, $15 for students
For more information please visit www.whartoncenter.com
Thirteenth Annual Woodlands Indian Art Market
December 9,10, and 11, 2005 at the Nokomis Learning Center, 5153 Marsh Road, from 12:00 to 6:00 PM
Native artists from Michigan showcase their work.
For more information please cal (517)- 349-5777 or e-mail info@nokomis.org.
Michigan Winter Classic Beef Show
December 10, 2005 at the Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education at 9:00 AM
Beef cattle show.
For more information please contact Matt or Tara Miller at (517) 543-4535
Junie B. Jones
December 11, 2005 in the Wharton Center Pasant Theater at 1:30 and 4:30 PM
A musical based on the books by Barbara Park.
Tickets are $7
For more information please visit www.whartoncenter.com
Project Green Ice Skating
December 14, 2005 at Munn Ice Arena from 10:30 to 11:30 AM
Project Green will be sponsoring a field trip for the students of Willow Elementary.
For more information contact Allison Cherrette at (517)-432-0830 or visit www.bus.msu.edu/learcenter
Why Jihad Went Global
January 11, 2006 in the Kellogg Center Auditorium at 7:30 PM
A lecture by Professor Fawaz A. Gerges.
For more information contact Mohammed Ayoob at 517-353-3583 or ayoob@msu.edu
Vegas Fever!
January 13, 2006 on the Second Floor of the MSU Union from 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Gaming, prizes & live Vegas-style entertainment. Blackjack, slots, roulette, poker & more.
For more information please visit www.uabevents.com
2006 International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella
January 14, 2006 at the Wharton Center’s Pasant Theater from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM
Featuring MSU’s Ladies First, Accafellas, and a cappela groups from Grand Valley, Eastern Michigan, Northwestern, and Alma College.
Tickets are $7 for students, $10 for adults.
For more information please visit www.varsityvocals.com/icca
Showtyme @ MSU
January 14, 2006 at the MSU International Center from 8:00 PM- Midnight
FREE – MSU’s version of “Showtime at the Apollo”. All student performers, singers, comics, juggler, mime & more! $1,750 in cash prizes to the winners! In partnership with the MLK, Jr. Student Activities Planning Committee.
Jazz: Spirituals, Prayer & Protest Concert
January 15, 2006 at the Pasant Theater at the Wharton Center at 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM
A special tribute to Rosa Parks. Admission is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at the Wharton Center Ticket Office. For more information please call (517) 432-2000.
Activism Today: Talking Across the Generations
January 16, 2006 in the Illinois Room of the MSU Union from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
A panel discussion with young student activists and older community activists discussing the ongoing challenges of activism today.
For more information please contact the Peace and Justice Studies Specialization, the Department of Anthropology, and Students for Peace and Justice.
Into the Streets Martin Luther King Jr. Day Service Event
January 16, 2006 from 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM
An opportunity to volunteer in the Lansing community with MSU’s community service organization, Into The Streets. Registration is 9:00 AM in N-130 Business College.
40 Years Later: From Voting to Activism…What Are Your Rights
January 16, 2006 in the MSU Union from 8:15 AM to 4:30 PM
The second annual student-led conference and resource fair hosted by the MLK Jr., Student Activities Planning Committee. It features keynote speaker Dr. Bill E. Lawson, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Memphis. Registration is required.
Commemorative Celebration Community Dinner
January 16, 2006 in the Akers Hall Dining Room from 4:30 to 6:30 PM
Dinner is free for MSU community members with a valid MSU ID. Registration at www.diversity.msu.edu is required.
Commemorative March to the Rock
January 16, 2006 beginning at Beaumont Tower at 4:40 PM
Members of the MSU and Greater Lansing communities join together for the traditional march.
“The Impact of Martin Luther King Jr.: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”
January 17, 2006 at the International Center rooms 303-305 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
A lunchtime program focusing on the impact of Dr. King’s life and work. Will feature guest speakers and music from the MSU Jazz studies students.
For more information contact Debra L. Peterson at peter181@msu.edu or (517) 355-2350.
Hoops for a Dream: 3-on-3 Basketball
January 20 and 21, 2006 at IM Sports West Gyms
To register please visit www.diversity.msu.edu
Harlem Globetrotters
January 24,2006 at the Breslin Center at 7:00 PM
The famous Harlem Globetrotters play against the New York Nationals.
Tickets are $17.50 and higher.
For more information contact Lyndsey Burchardt at burchar2@msu.edu or (517)432-1989.
Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
January 25, 2006 at the MSU Auditorium at 7:30 PM
Tickets are $40 and $30; $15 for students.
For more information visit www.whartoncenter.com.

Posted in State SideComments (0)

Where to Be

“Pewabic: A Century of Michigan’s Art Pottery”
Nov. 1 – 30 at the Kresge Art Museum
MSU’s role in Pewabic art over the past 100 years.
For more information contact Heather Winfield, kamuseum@msu.edu or (517)353-9834.
Natural Land Laws in the Rights of Indgienous Peoples
Wednesday, Nov. 2, in the International Center at 3:00 p.m.
Keynote speaker Dr. Jan Hoffman of Duke University, University of Notre Dame, Kellogg Institute Visiting Fellow
Relient K, MXPX, Rufio in concert
Wednesday, Nov. 2, in the MSU Auditorium at 8:00 p.m.
Public tickets are $20 and student tickets are $10.
For more information please visit www.whartoncenter.com.
MSU Observatory Open House
Friday, Nov. 4, and Saturday, Nov. 5, in the MSU Observatory
MSU’s 0.6-meter telescope will be set up, along with smaller telescopes, to view astronomical objects.
UAB’s Spartan Idol
Friday, Nov. 4, and Saturday, Nov. 5, in the International Center at 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Determine the next Spartan Idol from 20 contestants. The top five perform Saturday.
For more information please visit www.uabevents.com.
Third Annual Women’s Leadership Conference
Sunday, Nov. 6, in the MSU Union at 2:00 p.m.
Presentations and workshops with female leaders. Organized by Resdience Life, Department of Student Life, the Women’s Resource Center and University Activities Board.
For more information please visit www.msu.edu/~wrc.
Ravi Shankar’s Festival of India II
Sunday, Nov. 6, in the Wharton Center Great Hall at 7:00 p.m.
Folk musicians and singers perform Indian classical music. Tickets are $25 to $45.
For more information please contact the Wharton Center at (517)432-2000 or www.whartoncenter.com.
MSU State Singers, Women’s Chamber Ensemble and Chamber Choir
Tuesday, Nov. 8, at Martin Luther Chapel at 7:30 p.m.
$8 public, free for students.
For more information please call (517)353-5340 or visit www.music.msu.edu.
Kanye West in concert
Friday, Nov. 11, at the MSU Breslin Center at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $41.50 and $32.50. Students receive a $5 discount.
For more information please contact Lyndsey Burchardt at burchar2@msu.edu or (517)432-1982.
Global Festival
Sunday, Nov. 13, in the MSU Union at 12:00 p.m.
Global café, world gift shop and other international activities.
For more information please visit www.uabevents.com.
Third Annual China Supply Chain Forum: “Creating Value”
Friday, Nov. 18, in the Kellogg Center
Hear top managers speak about their experiences in China. Guest speakers and Q&A sessions on international business. Tickets are $15 to $85.
For more information please visit www.chinaforum.msu.edu.
Lyle Lovett “The Composers Tour”
Friday, Nov.18, at Great Cobb Hall at 8:00 p.m.
With special guests Guy Clark, Joe Ely, and John Hiatt. Tickets are $20 – $50. For more information please visit www.whartoncenter.com
MSU Horseman’s Association Horse Show
Monday, Nov. 20, at MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education at 9:00 p.m.
Tickets are free. For more information please contact John Shelle at (517) 355-8391
MSU Concert and Campus Band
Wednesday, Nov. 30, at MSU Music Building at 7:30 p.m
$8 public, free for students.
For more information please call (517)353-5340 or visit www.music.msu.edu.

Posted in State SideComments (0)

Where To Be

Saturday, October 1, 2005
9:00 am – Saturday Seminar Series: “Just Say No to Going Pro” Robert McCormick
Kellogg Center Auditorium – Free
Tuesday, October 4, 2005
7:10 pm – Film Night – Magdelena’s Tea House, 2006 E. Michigan Ave.
Seventies punk documentaries, “Dancing Barefoot” and “Blank Generation.”
Friday, October 7, 2005
5:30 pm – MSU Water Carnival – Banks of the Red Cedar River – Free
MSU brings back its Water Carnival to celebrate its Sesquicentennial.
9:00 pm – UAB’s Sesquicentennial Celebration – MSU Union Main Lounge – Free
Enjoy Ballroom and Swing dance lessons to the sounds of the Jump Street Swing Band.
Saturday, October 8, 2005
12:00 pm – MSU Sesquicentennial Parade
Begins at Frandor Shopping Center, will go east on Michigan Avenue to Grand River. It will enter campus on Collingwood.
Friday, October 14, 2005
LBGT Poetry Slam – Café Barista, Case Hall – Free
Saturday, October 22, 2005
8:00 pm – Spartan Spectacular – Breslin Center Arena – $8.50 general, $6.50 Band Fans, MSU students, groups of 25 or more. The Spartan Marching Band, Michigan State Wind Symphony, and others perform in this event presented by the MSU School of Music.

Posted in State SideComments (0)

Ready for Invasion

Remember in eighth grade when your one aspiration in life was to be on MTV’s TRL screaming, “I love blink-182 and I just want to give a shout-out to Megan, Jeremy, Jessica, Lis- WOOOOO!!!!” Saturday, April 22, this opportunity could be yours, as MTV U’s Campus Invasion tour, featuring the bands Muse and Razor Light, storms MSU’s campus.
The Campus Invasion tour will be more than just a few-hour concert- it will be an all-day event. It will start in the parking lot of the Breslin Center at 10:30 a.m. where students will have the chance to listen to new music from MTV U, win VIP passes to the concert later that night and even make that coveted dream come true by getting their screaming face on an MTV U camera.
Even if you don’t attain television stardom, you can take home some sweet items, all for free. Several different well-known companies will be at the Breslin Center giving away their products: Nintendo will have a booth set up for students to play new games, Wrigley’s gum will help students design their own custom T-shirts to take home, Herbal Essences will glam up students for the night’s show by modifying their picture and putting it in a frame. In true MTV style, there’s more than just free swag. If walking from booth to booth hasn’t worn a student out, Citicard will have an inflatable rock wall set up and Butterfinger will be offering an inflatable bungee jump. And just to add that little bit more to put the whole day over the top, Ford is giving students a chance to win a new car (if the whole affair feels kind of like The Price is Right, just “Come on down!”).
“Students usually jump at free stuff,” psychology freshman Joanne Kardell said.
[scott] Besides giving away great products, the company sponsorship helps keep the concert tickets low, at $15 each for students, said international relations senior Tahera Sakarwala, the Co-Program Director for the event put on by ASMSU’s Programming Board.
“Students in South Complex will be right there, so they will be able to see all of this outside of their window,” said pre-dental and philosophy junior Scott Howell, the Student Assembly Representative for ASMSU’s Programming Board. Howell recently drove to Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University to advertise for the concert. He is hopeful and confident the short distance will encourage students to travel from other schools to see MTV U and Muse.
“I think if we get the word out, this event could live up to its full potential,” Howell said.
MSU students may not have heard of Muse yet, but they’ve hit it big in their native United Kingdom and are creating a buzz on this side of the pond. The three-member band has been compared to Radiohead and their concerts have been called a laser light show with music. Sakarwala said, in music magazines, Muse is usually described as the group your favorite band loves.
“The reaction we have gotten from students is either, ‘I don’t know who they are,’ or, ‘I am so excited they are coming! I love them!,’” Sakarwala said.
Regardless of the group’s hype, or lack there of, students are likely to come out just because MTV has parked on campus.
So, for everyone who has been practicing their blood curdling screams and perfecting their shout-out list, your time to shine is here.

Posted in Arts & CultureComments (0)

I Am Not Charlotte Simmons

There are no Charlotte Simmons’ at MSU. Some people may resemble the character from Tom Wolfe’s new novel, but literally, no one here is actually named Charlotte Simmons. I checked. No one quite that naïve could have made it here, but it’s possible that a few impressionable, bookish types out there could have served as inspiration for the character. But certainly there are no students that expected college life to be a place where academia thrives and annoying off-the-cuff, high-school comments come to die. Everyone knows college is about the party scene with frat parties during the week, “experimenting” with different people and objects, and never opening a book. At least that’s the picture Wolfe sketches in his new novel I Am Charlotte Simmons.
[wolfe] Wolfe, 74, researched the lives of college students at over a dozen campuses, including the University of Michigan, to help him narrate the first year of college as seen by Charlotte Simmons, a quiet, bright, southern girl attending college at a prestigious, fictitious university. Charlotte is first shocked by the foul language of her peers, their non-stop partying and sexual escapades and chooses to find a life within her studies and books. However, Charlotte decides to throw these ideals to the wayside when she finds a boyfriend in a pampered basketball player. The picture of ivy-covered walls is relatable, but may not be accurate. Students do party and swear, but Wolfe over-intensifies these ideas. In an attempt to immortalize himself as the prevailing sociologist of 2000s college life, Wolfe proves he is too old to capture our generation as well as he did his own. However, the old man is not completely out of touch and gets some of it right, including his descriptions of college-speak.
The Language
In I am Charlotte Simmons, Wolfe reveals a world where students only speak in the “prevailing college creole: Fuck Patois”. He sprinkles the foulest expletives randomly throughout the college-student speak. In Wolfe’s world, it is almost impossible to walk though any dorm, tailgate or even library without hearing students adding little extras to their tales.
“I think that was something [Wolfe] really wanted to get across,” history and political science major Jacob Boylan said after reading the novel. “Kids our age are overly profane and it’s killing our vocabularies, even at the most prestigious universities in America like Dupont [Wolfe’s ficticious university] or in real life Harvard or Yale.”
Junior English major Megan Brown disagrees with Wolfe’s portrayal. “The people I know are actually trying to expand their vocabulary,” Brown said.
In Wolfe’s depiction, female students have even also broken away from their hushed tones, and this does seem to mirror real life. “Women have a tendency not to speak that way [with profanity] because of this code of politeness,” linguistics and writing, rhetoric, and American cultures professor Denise Troutman said. However, young women in Wolfe’s book and on real college campuses are breaking the rules of this code. One trip to an on-campus “Ladies” room will prove that college women can talk just like the boys.
The Parties
[book] In the novel, Charlotte seems to have a prudish view toward other students’ partying antics. “[Wolfe] makes her out to be a willfully naïve goody two-shoes. . . as if this Miss Smartypants had never watched television or read a magazine in her life,” Michiko Kakutani wrote in his New York Times review of the novel. Standing next to fellow students in her matching plaid pajamas, slippers and robe, or her high-waisted jeans, Charlotte does seem different.
Going through college without drinking or partying is fine, and many students do. But does that mean it is not acceptable to strike a balance between studies and parties? Wolfe implies just that with Charlotte’s appalled attitude.
“There is a middle ground, but I think it’s hard to find,” psychology major Kristen Capps said about students finding a balance between studying and partying. “Kids that party do party a lot, and kids that study do study a lot.”
Mostly focusing on the late night weekend parties, Wolfe seems to miss what freshmen experience during the week. Routinely rolling out of bed and going to class, living with someone you have never met and meeting hundreds of new people can be emotionally trying. Readers get a glimpse of Charlotte’s homesickness when she writes a letter to her parents and calls a friend from home for support. “Laurie will know! Laurie will understand!” Wolfe does touch on some truth when he depicts Charlotte as unsure where she fits on campus, when home and Dupont are equally not her niche. Any college student can empathize with these first-year identity woes.
The Sex
OK, college students have sex. They have sex in their lofts with their roommate in the one next to theirs or will even kick their roommate out. But sex on the floor as your roommate comes in and you aren’t embarrassed at all; in fact you introduce your roommate to your new “friend”, since you can’t remember his or her name? This is what is described in one scene in the dorm of two basketball players. It’s arguable that college students are as shamelessly enslaved to their loins as much as Wolfe’s characters.
[sex] Charlotte makes a clear point, though, when describing her membership in the “Virgin Club.” “This is supposed to be this great university, but it’s like if you haven’t ‘given it up,’ . . . then you just don’t belong here.”
Sex in the novel is not viewed as taboo, much like on a real campus. According to Wolfe’s depiction, it’s OK to ask your roommate to leave so you can “hook up” in the middle of the night, it’s OK to assume if you have a boyfriend you two will have sex, it’s even OK for Charlotte’s religious best friend to tell her to do some experimenting because “college is this four-year period when you can try anything. . . and if anything goes wrong there’s no consequences”.
The Accuracy?
Wolfe’s depiction of a typical college student can be overly stereotypical, but I Am Charlotte Simmons does have moments of glory tucked within its daunting 676 pages. For example, his description of the library with its “rustle of many people in motion” and the speed-walk battle for the last computer available is dead on.
“I think it gives a pretty accurate perception of what college is like on the weekends,” Boylan said. “What’s great is that we can all relate to this book right now because we’re going through it.”
Yet, Wolfe’s amplified stereotypes: the jock, the nerd, the quiet girl, the party girl, can give a negative spin to readers who are unfamiliar with college students.
“There are some students who may fit these stereotypical roles,” Troutman said. “Unfortunately, we continue to get these perpetuated myths of college students.”
Wolfe’s take on college life may be bold, only focusing on the excitement of the parties and not the mundane of daily classes and duties. This boldness makes some important points, like students constantly swearing, but oversimplifies and labels us into rather offensive boxes. It is very likely that there are no complete composite characters from I am Charlotte Simmons roaming around campus. But there are probably quite a few nuanced versions of Wolfe’s sex-crazed jocks, party girls, and even Charlottes out there.

Posted in Arts & CultureComments (0)