It is a typical weekend, and Mississippi State University students sit on the couch with their friends debating the typical question many Starkville inhabitants have: "What do you want to do?"
Whether it is date night, a night on the town or a family outing, the extent of entertainment attractions is slim. There are about four options for amusement: go skating at Skate Odyssey, see a movie at United Entertainment Corporation Theatre 11, go out to eat or drive 30 minutes to go bowling.
Surely, one would think, a college town would have more to do. After all, other neighboring universities such as the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Mississippi have made some investments into these opportunities.
Southern Miss has a zoo, Alley Cats Axe Throwing Company, UpDown Trampoline Park, Extreme Skate Zone and Hub Bowling Lanes. Ole Miss has the Oxford Film Festival drive-in movie, Premier Lanes bowling, America's Escape Game, double decker bus tours and Lyric Theatre.
This is not to say Starkville needs all of these things, but it would be worth it to pick and choose a few of these entertaining ventures to incorporate into the student social life. It should also start locally with resident entrepreneurs, not with the outsourcing of chain companies. Dave and Buster's is a great time, but it would be more special and profitable to Starkville's economy to look nearby.
The profit in these types of businesses is surprisingly high, and depending on which organization is implemented, it can have little expense.
According to Harris Miniature Golf Courses Incorporated, a company which has been involved in the golf-course design and construction industry for over 30 years, mini-golf is the safest bet for investment because of its minimal need for excessive staff and equipment costs, its low liability and its high profitability.
With just a minuscule investment, Starkville can become more family-oriented and welcoming with options besides the usual nightlife. However, these investments do not have to be catered to one type of crowd. Arcades, for instance, have been a staple in American culture for decades now and can be altered to appeal more to certain crowds at different times.
Arcades do not have to be designated as an exclusively games-only realm, even though those generate a decent amount of revenue by themselves. For example, Spinner's of Florence has bowling, roller skating, arcade games and virtual reality all under one roof. This establishment caters not only to children but to adults and everything in between.
Obviously, something that large may be too far-fetched for new entrepreneurs, so a simple arcade is a safe and good investment with room to grow. As previously mentioned, classic arcade games produce a decent amount of revenue. Solomon O'Chucks with ProfitableVenture claims if a facility is large enough, one machine can produce at least $200 dollars per week.
However, money is not the only positive influence these additions can push into effect; these attractions also help with mental health and social well-being. With new places to meet people and the space to allow old friendships to flourish, it will be a hub for millions of memories and life-long connections.
According to Esteban Ortiz-Ospina of Our World in Data, a study conducted at Harvard University begun in 1938 tracked the lives of 724 young men in order to observe the evolution of the participants' health and well-being over the course of their lifetimes.
Robert Waldinger, the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, concluded "social connections are one of the most important factors for people's happiness and health" and discovered those who maintained strong relationships were happier and lived longer while those who were lonelier died sooner.
If this study proved being around others and having close friendships for that many people are important to humans' longevity, then should there not be spaces to help facilitate these connections? College is meant to be the place where we meet those who become our found family, so let us build a place to find them.