The lights dimmed and you could already hear chuckles and whispers rising above the music streaming from the speakers in the theater. The performers continued to dance around the stage with grace, nailing every move with near perfection.
Every now and again you will catch a glimpse of flickering lights from cell phones popping up in the sea of students. You can just make out the irritation on faces of guests turning around and glaring at a group of students who are making gestures and remarks loudly and rudely.
But the show goes on.
Disrespect at Castleton Soundings events is an ongoing challenge. At any given Soundings event, you are guaranteed to find rude students scattered throughout the audience. Theirbehavior has offended performers and other audience members alike.
“Sometimes the Soundings students are a challenge, not all of them though,” said Mariko Hancock, director of cultural programming. “All it takes is one ‘Bad Apple’ to destroy the atmosphere in the theater.”
Some students say the selection of events may have something to do with the poor student behavior.
“I don’t mind the requirement of Soundings, but I just wish that some of them were more interesting,” said Freshman Stephanie Cleveland.
There have been several occasions where performers have made complaints about these ‘Bad Apples,’ indicating that maybe Castleton students are not ready for these types of events, said Hancock.
“Soundings counts as a coarse credit, it’s a class. Do you disrespect the professors of your other classes?” asked Soundings professor Robert Wuagnuex when questioned about behavior at Soundings events
Although the disrespect at some of the Soundings events can be discouraging, Soundings faculty and directors are focusing on how they might find asolution.
“I think positive peer involvement is important, and cultivation of a bystander culture so that people take personal responsibility for themselves and are willing to call out their peers for doing things that are disruptive to others,” said SallyAnn Majoya,assistant director of cultural programming.
Other Soundings officials believe that help could come fromFYS instructors, Soundings instructors and professors who couldhelp educate classes on the upcoming events.
“I believe that if faculty would prepare students for Soundings events by showing the relationship from what they are learning in class to whatever the event might be, they will know what to expect, and even query students about the event,” said Wuagnuex.
In an attempt to avoid negative behavior due to the simple lack of curiosity or interest, Soundings officials believe the idea of encouraging students to pick and choose events that are potentially interesting to them beforehand could help drastically.
But the Soundings officials know that word of mouth and encouragement can only go so far. Hancock, Majoya and Waugnuex all agree that students need to embrace the special opportunities that Castleton State College offers through Soundings. The leadership of faulty, instructors and peers can only help so much. Assuming respectfulness, responsibility, open mindedness and maturity lies in the hands of the Soundings students who attend these events.
“Come with an open mind, you might discover something you never knew,” said Hancock.