In The Field : Jared Mahone : Oct 5 ’13

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October 5, 2013
“The Augie Advantage”

As you probably have noticed, often journaling about the road doesn’t have much to do with actual shows that I play. Last night was an exception. The whole experience was great and I think it’s worth sharing some details. Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD has quite a vibe. The venue itself has a special environment. Re-imagined from what was an old bowling alley back in the days of soda jerks and indoor telephone booths, this place transported you to any culture-rich dive in NYC and made you forget, if just for a moment, that you were in a sterile, college admin building. My thrift shop bowling ball bag that I use to carry gear usually looks out of place but not at The Back Alley. Atypical for a campus venue, this place had pro sound, great lighting and a deep stage at the back of the room.

It was standing room only and almost everyone out there was a female. When I asked about the lopsided gender ratios, the few guys there informed me that this was referred to as “The Augie Advantage”. Someone said it was 3 to 1 girl to guy, then another argued 3 to 2 while yet another insisted 4 to 1. From where I stood on stage, it was more like 10 to 1, at least in that room. Ratios of this kind wouldn’t really be much of an advantage if the room was full of a bunch of Jersey Shore chicks. I am referring of course to the delightful (heavy sarcasm) personalities on the reality TV show, not the actual female residents of that region of the country). No, the true advantage to these fellas is that the room full of girls I met at Augustana were some of most genuinely kind and good natured human beings I have met on campuses around the country.

What I hope all of the students at Augie realize is that there really is an advantage to attending Augustana College and it has nothing to do with any guy to girl ratio. During my brief time on campus, there was an almost palpable taste in the air of what seemed to be a healthy, fun, encouraging, and spirit-lifting environment. I’m pretty certain that most of this environment is to the credit of Jeff, the head of the student activities department. He really set a great tone, got everyone to rally together, and was able to accomplish some pretty exciting things for the Augie students. No drama, no stress, and no scandals that I can tell. Just a bunch of fun people doing a bunch of fun stuff for their campus. Group dynamics are tough to balance but to Jeff, accomplishing this task seems to be second nature.

I think if this whole music thing caves in, I would love to take a swing at his kind of job. You know, work for college and spend a huge budget to make a bunch of fun stuff happen on campus. Motivate a team and be a mentor. If I ever do, I hope I can do it like Jeff; the real Augie Advantage.

Here’s a photo of The Back Alley venue I played on Augustana College campus. The original bowling lanes are the current floor.Jared Mahone


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