By James Brains
Brians is graduated from Michigan State in 2004.
For decades now, Michigan State University students mark the end of the men’s basketball season by burning couches and gathering in large, scary groups. And, every year, MSU and the City of East Lansing try to fight it. Why? I’m guessing it’s the combination of perceived disorder and the mess it makes. Fine.
I think a better solution would be a university-organized, end-of-season couch bonfire.
On a set location on or near campus as soon as MSU makes the tournament, people can start donating their couches. There could be a “Head Couch” person with some experience in such things who can determine if the couch is in good enough shape to go to a secondhand store instead. They could also work to remove parts of the couches that may not be the best to burn. Local companies could sponsor the event to offset costs.
Once MSU loses in the tournament, fans would be encouraged to head to the bonfire location, where the couches would be burned ceremoniously. There would be plenty of safety precautions: Barricades that keep fans from getting too close, unarmed security (NOT in riot gear) and so on. It would be a cathartic celebration.
Sure, burning a couch isn’t the most responsible way of disposing of it, but it sure beats potential rioting, property damage, and a menacing and expensive police presence.
I’m sure there are lots of holes in this idea, but rather than shooting it down out-of-hand, I recommend administrators consider solutions to the flaws. Let’s figure out something that satisfies MSU’s and the City of East Lansing’s need for control while giving the kids an opportunity to let off some steam.
As an entrepreneur, though, I see this as an excellent opportunity for a local business to gain exposure by hosting such an event.