Crucial to campus: UPB Glow Night and the importance of campus activities

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 at 6:05 PM

At the Glow in the Dark party hosted by the University Programing Board on Jan. 26, students were greeted with a complimentary event T-shirt. Neon glow sticks illuminated the room, while students were adorned with colorful crowns, necklaces and bangles. The room hummed with a booming bass as the DJ played well-known dance music. The atmosphere was alive with energy as students played new versions of old party games. 

Glow-in-the-dark beanbags went flying across the room as friends cheered each other on. Ping-pong balls rolled across the floor, remnants of failed mock beer pong attempts, awash in the neon strobe lights that covered the walls. The photo booth was an event highlight; students clustering together around the prop table to piece together their silly costumes for a commemorative photoshoot with friends. Events like this, where students can come together and have fun as a group, are what impact Edinboro University’s growing social environment.

Jessica Gray is a 2008 Edinboro University graduate and now serves as director of annual giving. She is also a member of the Co-Curricular Activities Task Force, which was assembled by university President Dr. H. Fred Walker to research student involvement in extracurricular clubs and activities.  

In an interview conducted via email referencing how attendance and advertising methods at co-curricular functions can be improved, Gray said: “I think the events are there, but reaching the target audience can always be a challenge. What can we do to better serve our EU students and share events on campus? Where are students looking for this information? Are you looking on the webpage, social media or community boards on campus?”

She continued: “This is our main focus in the Co-Curricular Activities Task Force. We want to help connect our students with the appropriate organizations and events on campus; this will enhance the EU experience and help our students truly thrive.”

When asked what students would like to see in the future, Gray said: “I think students would like to see more traditions start on campus and Greek life thrive again. I sat down one-on-one with the EU Phonathon team and Student Philanthropy Council and interviewed each of them last semester. Many expressed they wanted certain co-curricular activities available on campus, many of which EU actually already offers.”  

Gray herself had participated in many co-curricular activities during the duration of her time as an EU student, including, but not limited to: Alpha Sigma Alpha, Dance Team, Student Government Association and the football cheerleading squad. 

Gray received her first job out of college due to her involvement in co-curricular activities. The Co-Curricular Activities Task Force will be releasing their complete report later this year, but Gray mentioned this piece of information: “It’s crucial for students to participate because it helps them learn time management, feel more connected, acquire soft skills and enhances the classroom learning experience. The student that gets involved, that yearns for the busy schedule, is the one that makes the most of their college experience. It’s proven that co-curricular activities are directly connected to student success, student engagement and retention.” 

Edinboro University has more than 140 clubs and organizations to choose from, some of which include Student Government Association, Greek life and Highland Ambassadors.  

At the Glow in the Dark event, many students seemed to have a blast hanging out and dancing with friends; however, there were a few in attendance who seemed to observe the fun rather than actively participate. Social gatherings like these can sometimes be uncomfortable if the student does not have friends in attendance or see a familiar face in the crowd. What is EU doing to connect to its wallflower population? This is the question the task force hopes to resolve in the near future.

Devva Saunders can be reached at voices.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: voices

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