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W.I.L.D. delivers music, good time and political activism
Sounds of laughter and chatter drifted through the Brookings Quad along with the mingled smell of pizza, beer and smoke. Hands waved in the air and bodies swayed against each other while the music flowed on.
There goes another Walk In Lay Down (W.I.L.D.).
With Method Man and Redman as the headliner preceded by K’Naan and Passion Pit, Team 31 Productions did not disappoint its audience in this fall’s W.I.L.D.
Senior David Schubert, co-chair of Team 31, knows there is always one reliable measure he can count on to gauge student satisfaction and event success.
“We were out of pizza, so the turnout had to be good,” Schubert said.
Many students crowded around the stage to position themselves closer to the music and excitement of the concert.
“I liked Passion Pit the most,” junior Ian Chui said. “I really like Passion Pit.”
Sophomore Michael Offerman echoed Chui’s appreciation for the opening alternative band.
“I think Passion Pit was the most well known and probably should have been the headliner,” he said. “Method Man and Redman—not many people knew their lyrics, but they were a good combo.”
Freshman Michaela Sass commented on the liveliness of the acts and the concert atmosphere.
“[The performers] were very energetic and engaging,” Sass said. “It was crowded and pretty intense and confusing—but fun. It was a lot of fun.”
W.I.L.D. with a political twist
Though most of the concert carried on as it would in the past, this fall’s W.I.L.D. started on a very different note.
Minutes before K’naan’s performance, a new kind of presence took the stage and demanded everyone’s attention.
Junior Alex Greenberg ran to the stage, grabbed the microphone and identified himself as a straight male and a member of Sigma Epsilon fraternity. For the next four minutes that followed, Greenberg introduced the Right Side of History—an organized effort supported by several University undergraduates to recharge the LGBT movement by garnering support from straight youths.
Greenberg spoke of his friend, senior David Dresner—one of the two founders of the Right Side of History. Dresner along with 2008 alum Brian Elliot, both of whom are openly gay, started the organization with the hope that it will one day become a national movement.
Dresner said he is glad Greenberg was the one to deliver the message.
“I think that having Alex deliver the message maintains the narrative that we’re using to garner support from straight people,” Dresner said. “He is close with me, and personally vocalized in the past his concern for my future. It was touching that [he] did that for me.”
Greenberg’s speech drew mostly positive cheers from the crowd. Many students clapped to acknowledge the group’s mission, while others remained more reserved while processing the message.
“Starting at Wash. U. in this quad at W.I.L.D. begins the trek to the Right Side of History,” Greenberg cried out to the audience. “It is not an event. It is not a student club. It is nothing of the sort. It is strictly a civil rights movement that all of you are very welcome to be a part of.”
Since the announcement at W.I.L.D. and an article focusing on The Right Side of History published in Student Life last Friday, Dresner said his inbox has been flooded with e-mails.
“There’s an unbelievable number of alumni and students who are interested. We’re building infrastructure as it grows,” he said. “We will continue to reach out at Wash. U. while reaching out to other universities in the country.”
Team 31 approved of the stage time that the Right Side of History had requested—a decision that Schubert deemed “just seemed right.”
“Honestly, it’s not a perfect venue, but it’s the only large-scale venue at the University to give a speech like that,” he said. “We did think about the appropriateness, but we knew it would be a good chance for them. We are all really supportive of the group and its mission.”
“We wanted to help them in whatever way we could,” Schubert added.
Team 31, however, is not making any promises to give other social issues stage time in future shows.
“We didn’t want to politicize W.I.L.D.,” Schubert said. “The Right Side of History was a group that had reached out to us. They had a great agenda, a pretty clear-cut message and an idea of how we could help them.”
For Dresner, there was no better place or time to deliver the message of activism.
“The noble energy complements the fun, cohesive message of W.I.L.D.,” he said. “At the end of the day, there aren’t that many times when all of Wash. U. gets together. We had the opportunity, and we seized the day.”