Tip of the Iceberg Walking through Indianapolis, you can see uniformed police officers directing cars and pedestrians at every major intersection. These officers account for roughly 10% of the security at this event. The other 90% you will never see. This is, of course, by design to keep fans thinking about enjoying themselves and spending money and not thinking about the major target this event is for groups of people trying to garner publicity for their message. Homegrown and international terrorist groups look for high profile public events they can disrupt to gain attention for their cause. They need not cause mass casualties to be effective; simply scaring the public is likely enough.
If Indy hosts the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 with larger crowds every year, why is the Super Bowl a big deal? The fan base for Indy car racing is dominated by middle class working families with some amount of disposable income and time to travel to Indy, camp for a weekend, and purchase food and beverages to enjoy the race. While this may mirror the broad fan base for the NFL, access to the Super Bowl comes at a high price. Tickets start in the thousands and closer to the game and nearer the field, tickets can cost $10,000. This draws a different crowd than does Indy car racing. Super Bowl visitors are upper class with connections. They utilize the Super Bowl as an opportunity to make professional connections, facilitate business deals, and increase their social capital. These fans are accustomed to a certain level of service and traveling to a major event doesn’t change these expectations. I suspect this classism is the reason why the Super Bowl is designated a National Special Security Event with the 200,000 fans while the Indy car races with two to three times the visitors garners almost no federal intervention for safety and response.
The early part in the week in downtown Indy has been dominated by locals and families. Parents with strollers and folks wearing Colts gear are everywhere. The weather has been unseasonably warm making this already walkable city a dream combination for the temporary attractions and businesses downtown. As the week progresses more and more visitors, including celebrities like Katy Perry and Ryan Gosling, can be spotted downtown. By Friday and Saturday I suspect the crowds will shift from locals and families looking for photo ops and group corn-hole games to out-of-towners looking for high end shopping and dining and exclusive parties.
I am sitting in the Emergency Operations Center in Indianapolis. I am surrounded by more screens than I can count with all the emergency response plans and real-time updates at the fingertips of the people at each screen. This is the place where all the appropriate agencies can respond to anything from a cluster of illness to a car accident to a major disaster. This is designed to be the command center of a city to direct resources to respond to needs. Every city of substantial size, including Lexington, has a similar room. This is where the response efforts are coordinated. Obviously, access to this area is restricted. The information available is restricted and the response efforts need to be protected from outside influences.
Last week the creative content/social media functional team of Hive, presented work-flow to other Hive team members. The podcasters created a demo interview featuring Christain Ecker called “On the Spot.” The social media writers showed their interactive pages created through facebook, twitter etc. connected to the A&S page. And to show what I do in terms of photography here at A&S, I took portraits of all Hive team members at the meeting in yearbook style! Brian and I provided everyone with funky clothes from our closets and everyone had a lot of fun, because the creative content/social media team has a lot of fun doing what they do.
I have chosen the best dressed out of our portraits at the meeting, your prize is pride. Here you go…
The Proof is in the Pudding: So just want does goes into hosting a wrinkle free international sporting spectacle?
Weather: It is no secret that Indy get it share of winter storms. The first weekend in February last year held an ice storm that put many people out of power for days. Indy officials and the Host Committee had its fair share of anxiety concerning the unknown weather factor. However, Indy has experienced an unusual warming trend with weather in the 50s. This temperatures are supposed to drop as the week progresses, but the sheer absence of a blizzard is enough to alleviate major weather concerns for folks responsible for ensuring a positive experience in Indy.
Hoosier Hospitality is the image Indianapolis wants to portray while hosting their first Super Bowl. The city has worked for years to land what is the Big Fish of sporting events. In May of 2008, it was announced that Indy was finally given this honor. Since that day (or years before depending on how much of this blog you read wink, wink) the city has worked diligently to host the most fan friendly game in Super Bowl history.
Recent preparations included everything from volunteers knitting Blue and White Super Scarves to building the flagship hotel the JW Marriot to purchasing and install $1,200 devices to prevent manhole covers from blowing off.
Looking further back, Indy has been working toward this week for half a century. In the 1960s Indianapolis was known as sleepy, stinky, and scary ‘nap’ town. People worked downtown in the government, finance and business sectors and then ‘got out of dodge’ as quickly as possible. For good reason as there was nothing to do downtown except dodge the droppings of the rampant pigeons.
How does one pack for six months of living in one of the most famous and fought about regions of the world? This is the question that I’ve been thinking about for the past few days, as I waded through jeans, shoes, books, dresses, and other sundry items trying to figure out what was important enough to warrant space in my one suitcase. It’s not until you have to put your wordly belongings in a suitcase that you begin to realize just how many of them there are, how many you’ve come to take for granted, and how many you so easily can (and probably will) live without, perhaps temporarily, perhaps more enjoyably. As I sat on the phone with Human Resources switching health plans, AT&T suspending U.S. cell phone service, and assorted credit card companies and banks putting many of life’s mundane details in order, I started to focus on the daily hum-drum slowly shifting out of its realm and into the liminal space that travel thrusts upon us—the space of wonder, delight, and amazement of that which otherwise we’d fail to take notice of, the simple yet infinite details that make up lived experience in this oh-so-human life.
A&S is proud to launch What’s New in Science, a new series designed for science teachers interested in learning more about the most recent discoveries, events, and advances in science today. The series is held in a casual round table format, with professors from different scientific disciplines and science teachers from Kentucky schools talking among themselves, asking questions, and getting answers about new and emerging knowledge. Each session focuses on a new topic in one of the sciences – there will be four different sessions this spring.
The series kicks off on February 2 with physics and astronomy and a discussion about the Big Bang event, dark energy, and dark matter. Panelists for the first talk include Randal Voss (Department of Biology), Ganpathy Murthy (Department of Physics & Astronomy), Karen Young, (Dunbar High School), John Anthony (Department of Chemistry), Susan Barron (Department of Psychology), and Gene Toth (Lafayette High School). Video of the sessions will also be recorded and uploaded to the A&S website, allowing science teachers across the state to view the discussions and incorporate them into their classes.
All of the Arts and Sciences Ambassadors are very involved on campus and represent our fabulous school through many different outlooks. One of these is of course, Greek Life. It's that time of year again, get ready for it, Greek Sing! Greek Sing is a philanthropy event, hosted by Chi Omega Sorority and Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, that raises money for the Make a Wish Foundation. This greek-wide event includes Greeks dancing together to destroy the negative emotions associated with childhood cancer. After slaving away for months, practicing for hours, the Greek community is ready to show off its moves! This philanthropy event not only supports an exceptional organization, but bonds University of Kentucky students. Remember that involvement in various different kinds of organizations, including academic and social groups, will make the most of your college experience. See you on February 11th in Memorial Coliseum! Keep an eye out for all those grooving Ambassadors!