U to offer students late-night programs

Patricia Drey

The University will meet the students’ need for safe and low-cost late-night entertainment three weekends this semester, an organizer said.

The programs will offer students a preview of what they can expect in fall, when there will be University-sponsored activities between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. every Friday and Saturday, said Shelly Nelson, director of late-night programs.

“We realize that students are up late,” Nelson said. “They’re creatures of the night.”

Tarot card readings, concerts, open mic nights, dance lessons, films, karaoke and crafts will all be part of the activities.

Planners learned that having various activities at the events is key to maintaining attendance when they held pilot programs last spring, Nelson said.

“If we keep doing the same thing every weekend, this program isn’t going to work,” Nelson said. “There are a lot of goofy, interactive, easy programs out there that students really love.”

An average of 500 students – most of whom lived on campus – attended the pilot programs, Nelson said. But organizers hope that attendance for the fall late-night activities will reach 1,000 students per weekend and include commuter and graduate students, she said.

Nelson said the programs will meet students’ needs and provide an opportunity to build a sense of community on campus.

Melissa Anderson, a communications junior and commuter student, said she does not think students have a problem finding things to do on the weekends, but low-cost activities could be appealing to some students.

Anderson said she probably would consider staying on campus on weeknights for activities, but probably would not return to campus on the weekends.

“Weekends are my time to get away from campus and kind of do my own thing,” she said.

Dustin Kleckner, a physics teaching assistant and recent graduate, said having such a large campus makes feeling a sense of community difficult.

“(The programs) might form smaller communities of people who all know each other and hang out, but usually people find that regardless of school,” Kleckner said.

In addition to programming funds, some of the $5,000 per weekend average cost for the program will come from the central administration and Student Services Fees – which were not requested but granted anyway, Nelson said.

Shuttle buses will follow the Campus Connector routes and free parking will help with transportation to the events, Nelson said.