Manchester tower construction
Construction of the new chime tower and less-than-ideal weather put a damper on the MAC on the Mall event.
Photo provided by MU

MAC on the Mall Diminished by Construction, Weather

Elizabeth Miller

A combination of construction and hot weather put a damper on the outdoors MAC on the Mall event compared to previous years, but the new hamster ball racing activity may have redeemed it, according to students.

A part of Manchester University’s Kick-Off Weekend, MAC on the Mall occurred on Saturday, September 3, from 12 to 4 p.m. Due to the chime tower construction in the middle of the Mall, the event was held in only half of the Mall beside Cordier. In previous years, the event filled the whole area.

About 75 people attended the event this year, according to Mikaya Auerbach, a senior MAC member who joined her freshman year. She stated that the holiday weekend and numerous away games may have affected student turnout. The event was slow around the midday, with only a few students taking part in the activities.

The activities at the event included an inflatable basketball game, giant hamster ball racing, bungee run inflatable, various yard games, as well as free ice cream. All were aligned with the sidewalk in front of the Academic Center. In the background, pop music was playing from a speaker as the sun beat down.

What were students’ favorite activity? Aly Buffenbarger, Mikaya Auerbach and Steven Wilson all three chose hamster ball racing. “Hamster balls are fun,” Buffenbarger said. “They’re tiring, but they’re fun.”

After getting out of a hamster ball herself, Auerbach said: “We haven’t had these before, so it’s a pretty cool new addition.” The hamster ball race included two giant hamster balls and an obstacle track to race down and back.

Even with the free ice cream and student-favorite hamster balls, the construction negatively impacted the event. “The construction makes it a lot less accessible,” Auerbach said. “It kind of puts a damper on the vibe.” She also said the event had to be condensed compared to previous years due to the construction.

Steven Wilson, a sophomore holding a basketball in front of the inflatable basketball game, commented that the construction is taking up a large portion of the Mall. “We’ve been having activities all around here [in previous years], so I think the clock tower construction is affecting that,” he said.

Not only did the construction have a negative effect but the hot weather did as well. “It’s really hot, so I don’t think many people are gonna come for very long,” Buffenbarger said. They said they were there for about 20 minutes, and wouldn’t be there much longer.

As a solution to the hot weather, Steven, with beads of sweat on his forehead, suggested “some kind of water activity” as a future activity at this event. He offered a slip-n-slide or water guns as examples.

The next event Auerbach is looking forward to is the GlowFest on Sept. 23. “It’s going to be super cool,” she said excitedly. “We’ve been planning that one for a while, so it’ll be fun.” The chime tower construction is expected to end by Oct. 21.