The Music Interest Floor on the ninth floor of Wilder Tower has the goal of promoting music on the River Campus. Along the way, however, it has been able to build a strong sense of community among its 30 on-floor members.
MIF has tried to challenge the notion that the River Campus has no musical component. “[UR] has a strong musical tradition,” president and junior Ian Harwood said. “Many times people think that’s only [true] at Eastman.”
MIF was founded in 1976, starting as a half-floor in Wilder. The next year, it grew to a full floor and has remained that size ever since. The main focus of the hall members is the promotion of musical events through such events as open recitals. MIF members help organize, usher and assist with events being put on by other musical groups. They also sell concessions when the UR Cinema Group shows films at Hoyt Hall.
MIF controls access to the tenth floor of Wilder, which contains one of the most coveted practice rooms on campus.
“The nicest thing about the room is the view — you don’t get this anywhere on campus,” Harwood said. The two rooms upstairs face the Genesee River and downtown Rochester.
The sense of community is one of the major reasons that people join MIF. Members share kitchen facilities and equipment, and most members have their doors open whenever they are in. Close relationships develop between members. “You can see anyone you know and just talk with them,” sophomore Rebecca Hickman said.
Senior Omar Moghal has lived on the floor for four years, and thinks the environment is the best part of living on the floor. “I like having life outside my door,” he said.
Harwood expressed concern that people might stereotype the floor as a classical music interest floor and he wants to dispel that perception. Only three music majors live on the floor, and members listen to and play wide varieties of music.
The floor has a strong alumni network of at least 150 former residents. The ties that are developed on the floor have shown themselves in a variety of ways. At least two on-campus music groups have been started on the floor — After Hours and the now-defunct Touch Tones. The floor also claims at least five weddings between past members.
Another interesting aspect of the floor is that there are no dues for membership. According to Harwood, most money is raised through fundraising activities led by Treasurer Katie Dill. “We ask [members] to pay as little as possible,” Harwood said.
Harwood encourages people interested in the floor to apply for an off-floor membership. Applications for these are available online at www.sa.rochester.edu/mif. “”If you have ears, you can be an off-floor member,” Harwood said.