True Life: I’m on Spring Break

With college students across the country and world closing their textbooks, embracing a week of freedom, and embarking on wild adventures, we see it fitting to pay homage to the originator of the modern definition of spring break, MTV.

In 1986, MTV filmed its first season of Spring Break, and has done so every year since then. Usually it popularizes fun beach cities in the south such as Daytona Beach, Panama City, Fort Lauderdale, and of course, Cancun. It is a week-long affair full of concerts, parties, and outrageous contests. MTV has branded spring break as a time for young people to let loose. This year, they are breaking away from the traditional East Coast/Caribbean locations and heading out west to Sin City itself, fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada!

How has spring break, a time when students everywhere have a week of nothing to do, become a billion dollar industry that fosters the growth of social capital among college students? The answer is branding. When you hear the names Panama City, Cancun, and South Padre Island, the image of beautiful beaches do come to mind, but the majority of the time people envision huge, day long parties on the beach, crazy clubs, and excessive amounts of alcohol. What most people do not realize is that Spring Break is a major component of the economies of these cities. Each year, over 250,000 students descend upon Panama City alone over a period of four weeks. Local officials and residents actually embrace the students because they understand the amount of money being spent by spring breakers.

Nonetheless, no matter the location, Spring Break is still branded the same way – as a time for students to let loose. So now we’ll ask the question: what are your plans for Spring Break, and do they fit into the brand image created by MTV? Our very own Scott Burgess and Megan Canny will be tackling this issue head on as they venture to Panama City, Florida. Wish them luck on their endeavors!

-Allison Day, Jessica Berinson, Megan Canny, Melissa Gagliardi, Scott Burgess