April 9, 2001

Music Television Invades Ithaca

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A national “MTV Campus Invasion” tour turned an overcast Ithaca College quad into a “virtual music village” this Saturday, with six stations where students could play the guitar, mix DMX with Rage Against the Machine and pocket free samples of deodorant.

The corporate-sponsored festival, which travels to dozens of universities every year, landed on Ithaca’s campus after the school made a competitive bid in March.

“Although MTV did spell our name wrong in its commercials, we do get publicity for our school through this,” said Katie Bartasevich, executive chair of the Student Activities Board (SAB), a group that brings bands, comedians and other acts to campus.

SAB and the Ithaca College Bureau of Concerts capitalized on the event by booking three big acts that night: Saliva, American Hi-Fi, and Sum 41, whom MTV hailed as “a veritable salad of music that drives today’s youth.”

“But where’s Carson?” asked sophomore Rob Mastralgelo, who had come to the event with friends Anthony Abruzo and Jake DiBari in the hopes of spotting a VJ and “some honeys.”

To Mastralgelo’s dismay, Carson Daley made no appearance at the virtual village, nor did any other celebrities for that matter. However, the “Times Square Studio” station offered students a convincing simulacrum of the celebrity experience by placing them in front of a blue screen for a “virtual interview” with VJ Ananda Lewis. Participants could take home videos of the interview to impress technologically naive friends.

But MTV managed to squeeze an educational component into its multimedia showcase. Volunteers at the “Fight for your Rights” booth — a station co-hosted by the Anti-Defamation League — encouraged students to register to vote and to sign petitions supporting federal hate-crime legislation.

The popularity of Campus Invasion proved to be a mixed blessing when dozens were forced to wait in long lines for temporary belly tattoos. Others expressed mild disappointment over the shortage of free stuff. “All I got was this sticker,” said Ithaca College Student Shannon Morris.

A number of Ithaca High School students, also present at the event, said they enjoyed the activities. “We don’t really like MTV,” they said. “But it’s cool to make fun of stuff.”

Archived article by Sana Krasikov