As the InVOLvement Fair wound down Friday night, Vol Night Long was just getting started.
While clubs packed up their tables and signs, students flocked to the Humanities Amphitheatre where cotton candy and music awaited. With inflatables peppering the landscape and lines weaving around various tents, Vol Night Long brought a carnival-like atmosphere to a night that, for many students, was their first weekend experience of college.
After a shift on Pedestrian Walkway, Nickie Hackenbrack, junior in biochemistry, came to enjoy the event with friends Blaire Hamilton and Bonnie Johnson. All three served as organizers of Sex Week.
Never having been to Vol Night Long before, the trio came away impressed.
"We were at the table for the Involvement Fair and we just decided to pop over," Hackenbrack said. "But this seems really cool, much cooler than in the past years."
The event was also a first for Matt Klein, sophomore in kinesiology. Vol Night Long was his introductory experience to the Campus Entertainment Board.
"I joined last year," Klein said. "This is my first event I've done with them."
Klein described the three inflatables, free cotton candy, fried Oreos, make your own flip flops and tie-dying station as a unique diversion from other typical college experiences.
There is an underlying purpose for Vol Night Long, Klein explained. Beyond merely facilitating a party for students, the CEB seeks to provide fun without the presence of alcohol. In this way, Vol Night Long acts as a substitute for more dangerous activities.
"It's (here) to give people a safe alternative to partying," Klein said. "It's a substance-free place so it's just a safe way that students can still have fun, especially during Welcome Week."
Drawing in more than 270 students within the first hour, Vol Night Long was one of the most well-attended events of Welcome Week. For this reason, the Board plans to expand Vol Night Long to a monthly event.
"We're going to try to have ... three or four a semester," Klein said.