Danes after Dark
by Greta Petry (May
One of the ways the University at Albany
has addressed the party school label is by
offering late night alcohol-free activities
in a pilot program this semester called Danes
"The Danes after Dark program is our new late-night programming initiative
to provide on-campus programming for students on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
nights until 2 a.m.," said Michael Jaromin, director of Student Activities.
The pilot program ran April 7-9 and April
14-16, ending the night before
this year's successful Fountain Day.
The goal is to continue Danes after Dark in
According to Jaromin, reaction to the first
weekend was positive. "Assistant
Director of Student Activities Beth Conrad and I talked to a group of students
during the first weekend who loved the idea of Danes after Dark and wanted to
know if this was going to be a permanent thing. They specifically mentioned wanting
to have more things to do on campus during the weekends and hadn't been
able to find anything. They were clearly looking forward to seeing more events
in the fall," he said.
Kali Mordaunt, a sophomore psychology major
from Grand Island, near Buffalo, N.Y., is a
late-night programs advocate who attended the
first Danes after Dark weekend. "It was really a wonderful, quality experience," she said,
adding that while it will take some time to build attendance, students will respond
if quality late-night programs are offered every weekend.
Mordaunt said late-night alcohol-free activities "are the first step" in
creating a culture where students choose staying on campus over going to the
She enjoyed karaoke and Boondoggle, also
known as Lanyard. Boondoggle is a simple, extruded
plastic lace that can be braided or woven. "It was just a fun
thing to do, along with karaoke and the movies," she said.
Board games were also popular, including
Monopoly and Jenga. Jaromin said students also
gravitated to the new game room, which included
a pool table, an air hockey table, and a TV
setup with the popular Playstation 2 video
Dance Revolution Extreme."
Mordaunt, a resident assistant on Indian
Quad and a Student Association senator active
in the Student Action committee, said she contacted
Ekow King in the interests of starting late-night activities on campus.
During the second weekend, almost 100 students
showed up to see master hypnotist Thomas Bresadola
perform. WCDB did a simulcast of its radio
show from the Campus Center cafeteria and announced
the events, while staff spread the word directly
"A good deal of brainstorming and research into Student Affairs' best
practices culminated in the Danes after Dark pilot," said King, associate
director of Student Activities and Multicultural Affairs. "By the time
we began writing the proposal, we already knew that this is the type of programming
that our students wanted."
King said the pilot is an equal partnership
between the students and the administration. "While
this is a Student Affairs initiative, the Student Association has expressed support
and committed funding and help from its programming office," noted Jaromin.
In addition to SA, there are efforts underway
to develop partnerships with University Auxiliary
Services (UAS), the Performing Arts Center,
and Residential Life. The UAS Board of Directors
Programming Committee was expected to announce
May 4 that it has approved $10,000 to support
five Danes after Dark weekends in the fall,
and five weekends of activities next spring. "In addition, the Office of
Student Activities has added recreational equipment, including foosball, the
air hockey table, and the pool table they've already purchased, and is
currently evaluating use of Campus Center space to determine how best to meet
the programming needs of students," said Associate Vice President for Student
Affairs John Murphy. Five staff people were assigned per night. Cost was about
$3,500 total for the two weekends.
By providing alcohol-free programs and reintroducing
late-night programming under one name, the
University seeks to reduce drinking on campus.
"We have the award-winning program
Middle Earth on campus, which fights these
problems from one angle. Adding another successful
program to combat the issue from another direction
can only improve the experience our students
have during their time here at the University," said
King. Murphy concluded, "The Student Activities Office will continue to
coordinate efforts to create partnerships among offices and groups to meet the
needs of our students beyond the classroom."