Despite the hopes of its organizers, the University’s Blackout Party — which marked the opening of Robert Purcell Community Center’s alcohol-free dance club — drew a small crowd on Friday.
Sydney Reade ’15, a Class of 2015 Council representative, called attendance at the event “unimpressive.” The party started at 10 p.m., but a substantial crowd only arrived at around 1 a.m., she said. Approximately 200 students attended throughout the night, she said.Reade said that the event may have been poorly attended because it coincided with eight registered frat parties, as well as mixers, also held on Friday night. She also cited inadequate pre-event advertising as an explanation for the event’s low attendance.“We only had one week, and the advertising wasn’t the best,” she said.But Jennifer Davis, assistant dean of students in the Student Activities Office, said she did not think that advertising played a major role in the “unfortunate and disappointing” attendance at the event.“I think it was just the competition of the night — it was Super Bowl weekend and people wanted to go out,” Davis said.In addition to drawing a small crowd, the club only managed to keep students engaged for brief intervals before they left, said Jaclyn Chen ’15, who helped organize the event.“Some people came to get glow bands, but people mostly came [for] ten minutes [and] then left,” she said.Students offered varying reasons for why they did not attend the event, with some, like Hanna McKinney ’15, saying they did not hear anything about the event until after Friday.“There was nothing in my mailbox to advertise it,” McKinney said. Still, when asked if she would attend the club’s next event, McKinney said she would not, calling the club “almost as bad as the karaoke they have at RPCC.”Other freshmen said that they did not attend the event because it was dry. Some of those who attended the event said they were primarily drawn by the club’s free glow stick giveaway.Ini Inyang ’15, who said “the glow sticks ran out fast,” suggested that event organizers offer more glow sticks at the club’s future events. Still, Inyang said that the event was fun, adding that it was nice to see the University provide alternative activities for people who do not drink alcohol.“It was nice because even though I was wearing yoga pants, I didn’t have to feel self-conscious,” she said.Like Inyang, Raquel Gonoretzky ’15 said that she enjoyed the atmosphere at the Blackout Party.“It was a relaxed environment, especially because no one came with expectations. The lighting was cool and they had really good music,” she said.Although few people attended the club’s opening, Moseh Cho ’15, another Class of 2015 Council representative said in an email that the $15,000 spent on the club was a worthwhile investment.“We just need to market the idea differently: change times, emphasize the after-party-event essence and basically make these events cool,” he wrote.Cho said that, contrary to students’ impressions, the council is looking to advertise the dance club’s events as an “after-party gathering space,” rather as a non-alcoholic venue.“We at Class Council understand that on a Friday night there may be better things to do that have alcohol. We just want to provide an alternative or an after-party-type event for students,” he wrote.
Original Author: Jinjoo Lee