Free student admission to Bijou to serve as late-night alternative
Starting this fall, University of Iowa students will be able to catch a late-night movie without venturing from downtown — for free.
IMU officials have agreed to cut the Bijou's rent nearly in half, allowing the cinema to offer students with a current student IDs free admission to films effective Aug. 21. Bijou will also begin showing late-night film showings at 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
The films are just one of the late-night activities the UI is implementing this fall to give students options other than drinking downtown.
Director of Student Life Bill Nelson said the weekend showings were in response to Iowa City's new 21-ordinance as well as a move to enhance attendance and to make bigger and better offerings at the Bijou, a nonprofit, student-run cinema established in 1972.
The expanded showings will also increase the number of on-campus late-night activities.
"It was a strategic move for Bijou," Nelson said. "To try to make the Bijou more fiscally attractive, enhance attendance, and to be consistent with other programs on campus that receive student-activity-fee funding."
The UI Student Government has budgeted $50,000 to Bijou from July 2010 to July 2011, UISG President John Rigby said.
The Bijou changes are one among many the UI is implementing in its student life to encourage dry entertainment.
At an April 6 City Council meeting — the third reading of the 21-ordinance — UI President Sally Mason voiced support for the measure and told the council the university was "prepared to double efforts" to curb overconsumption. This included more late-night options for students, she said.
Recent UI graduate Molly Golemo began a new job July 1 as the first-ever program assistant under Student Life at a base salary of $28,000 to plan alternatives to student drinking.
With the help of the Campus Activities Board and SCOPE — which operate on budgets of $80,000 and $157,000 respectively — Golemo said she plans to make the activities even more successful than previous years.
The new late-night alternatives to drinking include the new Campus Recreation and Wellness Center's lazy river, a bowling alley, and other free activities — all beginning with Welcome Week's hypnotist, outdoor movies, and a visit from comedian David Koechner from "The Office."
Campus Activities Board President Ashley Brown told The Daily Iowan earlier this month she is eager to begin the year and get these events started.
"Our main focus is to bring good events that people will come to and enjoy," she said.
In addition to comedians and movies, there will also be open-mike nights, student showcases, and a lot of speed-dating events, Golemo has said.
"You have to provide [students] with different options," she told DI in early July. "They have to realize there are different things going on."
DI reporter Cathryn Sloane contributed to this report.
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