The Start of Something New

Mar 31, 2014


Northrop from the Plaza Northrop from the Plaza
Photo Credit: University of Minnesota

"Living in my own world
Didn’t understand
That anything can happen
When you take a chance…

And now looking in your eyes
I feel in my heart
The start of something new…"

The first song performed in High School Musical, “Start of Something New” lays the groundwork for the rest of the film as the two main characters, Troy and Gabriella, find themselves paired up to sing a karaoke duet at some New Year’s Eve party. This chance meeting ignites a musical and romantic spark between the two, which intensifies upon their unexpected reunion at East High School, where Gabriella has just transferred. Clearly this is an allegory for the start of something new at the University of Minnesota, where there will soon be a very large building opening – providing the campus with dynamic new programming and radically expanded collaborative space. If you’re on this website, I’m guessing you’ve heard of it – it’s called Northrop. On this Friday, April 4, renovations will be fully complete and Northrop will be reopening with a flood of grand events – including American Ballet Theatre, CollegeHumor, Condoleezza Rice, The Minnesota Orchestra, and many more. Compare this to a musical at East High School – everyone wants a part of it.

However, people often fear a change to the status quo, and are as a rule wary of the unknown. When Gabriella and Troy decide to try out for the upcoming school musical, chaos breaks loose as their respective friend groups attempt to pull them back into line with the social order. Eventually these groups, as well as the other students at East High, realize that it’s better for everyone to be themselves in spite of reinforced social norms and that they “are all in it together.” I doubt the University will face the same type of sweeping turmoil during this time of change, but it is easy to imagine uncertainty driving students never to venture within the doors of what has become an enigma on campus.

“Am I allowed to study in here?”
Yes, there is now triple the collaborative space.

“Can I rent out space for my student group?”
Yes, you can.

“Do I have to spend a lot of money for tickets to events?”
No, many student tickets are free or are subsidized and available at a very low cost.

“Am I allowed to buy caffeinated beverages at the café/coffee bar?”
Yes, my friend. Yes you are.

These are some the questions that students may be asking themselves as they decide whether to enter the New Northrop or to walk right on by. Such uncertainties are understandable – it’s scary to do things that you have never done before, to go places that you have never gone before. But with the reopening of Northrop comes a tremendous opportunity for Gopher students to expand and enrich their lives on campus in many different ways. This is the start of something new at the University of Minnesota. The only question is – are you ready to get your head in the game?

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