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Ducks After Dark to provide late-night activities on campus

“Where should we go out tonight?”

Whether you live in a residence hall or off campus, there are nights you want to go out with your friends. But aside from 21-and-over bars, house parties and the like, campus can seem pretty dead late at night. I mean, there are only so many Cheesy Grillers you can eat at Common Grounds, right? Sometimes you only hear about an event after it already happened, be it a movie screening, special lecture, contest or other get-together.

But all that is about to change. Ducks After Dark, a new collaborative program, recognizes that there aren’t many activities for students after late hours. And it is setting out to create more late-night events on campus.

“It’s a really focused effort to look at late-night programing,” said Jessi Steward, interim associate director of the EMU, about Ducks After Dark. “We’re trying to create a sense of a vibrant atmosphere on campus that gives students activities and a reason to stay on campus and do healthy and fun things.”

Ducks After Dark is a collaborative program comprised of several University departments, including the Office of the Dean of Students, University Housing, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Erb Memorial Union, Cultural Forum, Substance Abuse and Prevention and students. Development began in the fall; Vice President of Student Affairs Robin Homes formed a committee to research and strategize about late-night events on campus. Steward was a co-chair of the committee.

“From my perspective, students sort of want to spontaneously put together late-night activities on campus,” Steward said, listing some that were successful, like Mallard Madness last spring. “Right now, there isn’t an easy way to find out where to go to events or how to put on new events.” @@[email protected]@

Ducks After Dark hopes to create a framework for sharing and creating late-night functions on campus, like a one-stop calendar for events put on by different student groups.

“Students were kind of wondering, ‘Why haven’t we had this sort of thing before?’” said family and human services major Callie Wagner, who is a student liaison for Ducks After Dark. “It’s no one’s specific responsibility, so no one has taken it on in the past. You’d maybe have a group put something on a few times or during one term, but that’s it.” @@*[email protected]@

Not only does Ducks After Dark seek to unite events put on by different campus groups, but it will create programs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights after 8 p.m.

Last week marked the start of the first series of late-night events, titled Ducks After Dark Double Header. Every Thursday night for the next four weeks, 150 Columbia will host two movies, the first starting at 9 p.m. and the second around 11 p.m. The double-feature movie nights are free, pizza and drinks are provided, and a raffle with prizes takes place between the films. The first night, April 12, saw about 30 students attend the “Horrible Bosses” and “Bridesmaids” double feature. Next Thursday, April 26, will see “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and “Hugo.”

“Movies are pretty much the easiest to get running the fastest,” Wagner said of the double-feature series. “To get the program started we just wanted to get our foot in the door.”

Ducks After Dark currently has two parts. A steering committee of professional staff focuses on researching types of events, costs and ways to increase awareness. Then the committee hands over a budget to a student programming board to come up with specific ideas.

“It’s a great opportunity if students want to get involved. We need more students on the board,” Steward said. “We really want feedback and input on what students want.

“Hopefully this will put the ownership of events on students. So, like with the movies, we’ll show what they want to see,” Steward said.

The possibilities of future late-night programs on campus are endless, including comedians, bands, karaoke, casino nights and more.

“I think all of us are just looking forward to seeing how much farther we can go with this in the future,” Wagner said.

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Rebecca Sedlak

Rebecca Sedlak