Block seating: dissolving the controversy

Anna Wood

Football season is finally here! As usual, everyone is ecstatic. There is no feeling quite like the one we get when we see tents being put up on the quad for the first time in the fall. I think most can agree that football season here at The University of Alabama is one of the best parts of our experience here as a student.

There are however a few aspects of football season we cannot seem to all agree upon. If you are an upperclassman, you are most likely sitting in the lower bowl portion of the student section of our beloved Bryant Denny. In the past, controversy has arisen due to fraternities and other campus organizations trying to unofficially reserve their own “blocks” or sections of seating. In the past few years, SGA made the decision to allow campus organizations to officially have their own sectors of the student section, allocated by SGA processes. The newest block seating chart was released last week, and a revised version is due to be released some time this week.

I can’t help but wonder if formalized block seating will have a positive outcome. Anyone who sits in the lower bowl level of the student section knows that it is crowded. Furthermore, the fact that it was unofficially sectioned off years ago caused this controversy in the first place. Will further official sectioning and dividing the seating help? Time will tell. Ideally, more organizations will feel that they have a place in our stadium. There is, unfortunately, the possibility that the new plan will backfire and more controversy and friction between organizations will ensue.

What chart shall we turn to then? Personally, I have wondered why there is a block seating system at all. If there were no regulated sectors to divide everyone, there would be no sectors to exclude anyone and cause strife. In my opinion, students should get seats based on a first-come, first-serve basis, and everyone can decide where they want to sit, whether it be with a group or not.

I understand why SGA took control of student organization seating. But I do not know if SGA took the right approach. I have to wonder if leaving the seating as it was and just eliminating regulated block seating altogether would have been best.

I do not oppose sitting with a particular organization or group. People want to sit with their social circle, especially among our age group. It is a matter of social comfort and security, and it is not an irrational notion. I simply wonder why there must be a chart drawn to validate these choices of seating arrangement. As college students, we are nearing adulthood, and many of us are already there. We should be at a point in our lives in which we can figure out where to sit without higher intervention.

Anna Wood is a sophomore 
majoring in advertising. 
Her column runs biweekly 
on Mondays