This past Friday, the Office of the Residential Education and the Resident Student Association hosted Union After Dark, an opportunity for students to come to the Rensselaer Union in the evening to partake in a variety of activities. The schedule was packed, listing movies, board games, crafts, casino games, music DJ-ed by WRPI, karaoke and mocktails, a free raffle, and an ice cream eating contest, among other things. But, while many students attended, it seemed most left after a few minutes of walking around. What started off as a potentially huge event fizzled out fairly quickly.
In many ways, Union After Dark appeared to be poorly planned. Food and drink ran out soon after being brought out; the music/dance floor and basketball game viewings were all stuck into one room, which was a fairly random assortment; and the arts and crafts activities, along with board games, were arbitrarily thrown about on the tables on the third floor of the Union without any sort of pull or engagement.
A few of these problems could be addressed for the future. We enjoyed the great music by WRPI, but it would have been better if there had been a more distinct dance floor. Additionally, more refreshments, more of a festive environment (perhaps through decorations, which were also lacking), and more staff and volunteers with extra enthusiasm would go a long way. Having a greater variety of activities would have also helped, as many rooms in the Union were not in use at the time. Group games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero (or any other kind of mass video game occurrence—we saw a small group playing Smash Bros. in a side room), additional performances from other student or outside groups (aside from Sheer Idiocy, who did put on its usual fun show), or any kind of special gallery (maybe even an art exhibition hosted by students) could have made Union After Dark more happening.
Also, while the event was run by ResEd, it would have been nice to see more people affiliated with the Union involved. It wouldn’t have hurt for the Union Executive Board (or even the Student Senate) to make some kind of showing to try to reach out to more students.
Having a giant party in the Union was a fantastic idea, and this event should definitely happen again next year, but bigger and better. That’s not to say we don’t appreciate the time and effort put into bringing Friday night entertainment to students. We just believe that, with a few improvements, Union After Dark could be more exciting and eventful.