With the wrap-up of an in-person Presidential Ball on Sept. 24, it might feel as though on-campus activities are largely back to normal. This might lead many upperclassmen or alumni to wonder where the typical early fall event, Red Sea Madness, has gone.
Red Sea Madness is an event organized by the athletics department to kick off the basketball season. But, starting in 2016, the Fairfield University Student Association began partnering with athletics to throw the FUSA Fall Concert.
Lil’ Dicky performed in 2016, T-Pain in 2017, DNCE in 2018, Fetty Wap in 2019 and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and there was no concert in 2020.
Some might believe the return of the Presidential Ball would lead to the return of Red Sea Madness, but there’s something else halting the concert, the destruction of Alumni Hall.
Opening in 1959, Alumni Hall was a large part of the identity of Fairfield’s athletics and its fan base for decades.
But, as part of “Fairfield 2020: The Way Forward”, a master plan the Board of Trustees passed in 2015, Alumni Hall was knocked down in favor of a new and more modern facility. This facility will be called the “Convocation Center” and according to the website, the venue will have a “state-of-the-art broadcast and media center, a Stags Club lounge and premium seating area.”
When speaking with athletics for this article, they stated this construction led to the lack of Red Sea Madness. Sarah Ratchford, assistant director of athletics/marketing & fan experience, stated, “With the construction of the new arena and Convocation Center underway we will not be doing a Red Sea Madness event this year.”
They continued, “However, we do plan to create a number of events and activities throughout the year to engage our student body and fan base. We are also actively looking to collaborate with student groups on campus to plan events at upcoming athletic contests to drive student attendance.”
Students who want to attend the games can get tickets through University Tickets to watch the Fairfield Stags play at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn.
Ratchford mentions, “Students, faculty and staff receive free admission to home games at Webster Bank Arena and that paired with a free shuttle that runs from campus to Webster Bank Arena throughout the entirety of the basketball season will assist in making that process easier for Fairfield students.”
She adds that they’ve seen a lot higher engagement rate due to their use of the Super Stags phone app. It allows users to check into games and earn prizes based on the volume of games they attend.
Yet, if students are still missing the lack of a fall concert, FUSA seemed to hint that the concert might be back for this spring.
In a statement to The Mirror, they said “FUSA plans to host a concert separate from athletics, potentially in spring 2021.”
Athletics adds that they also have a lot planned for the spring.
According to Ratchford they, “…plan to roll out a robust promotions schedule to attract students to attend spring contests, similar to fall and winter athletic contests.”
She says that they plan to actively partner with student organizations and departments on campus, but if student groups are interested in partnering, the athletics staff is happy to meet and build out a plan for future events.
She ends with, “The athletics department and both basketball programs are excited to welcome fans back to games in person this season.”