University at Albany, State University of New York
Contact UAlbany Directories Calendars & Schedules Visitors Site Index Search
Admissions Academics Research IT Services Libraries Athletics







Campus News

Danes after Dark

by Greta Petry (May 6, 2005)

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 after Dark.

"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 the fall.

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 bars downtown.

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 game "Dance, 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 to students.

"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."