Students and faculty members came together at Celebrate Drake this past Friday evening and into the early morning hours of Saturday in Olmsted Center. The event started at 9 p.m. on Friday night and ended at about 3 a.m. on Saturday morning after a pancake breakfast.
Greg Larson, the president of the Student Activities Board (SAB), said that Celebrate Drake was a good event to help “boost morale” on campus after multiple moments for the Drake community, and that it was “really nice to see everyone pitch in.” Planning for the event took about three weeks in total from the idea to completion, and SAB has been involved since the beginning.
The event started off with a line of students forming at both side entrances of Olmsted Center. The first 50 students received free T-shirts that read “Celebrate Drake.” Once students were inside they were greeted by the smell of food in the Olmsted Coffee Shop area and music from the band, EGG.
Sophomore Kaylee Gibney was in the EGG’s performance.
“They rock,” Gibney said. She was just one of the many students who had heard about the event and thought it would be a great time.
“It sounded like a cool event, and I wanted to support my friends in SAB and Student Senate,” she said.
In upper Olmsted students could participate in laser tag, salsa dancing lessons, a salsa-making competition, henna tattooing and a Guitar Hero tournament. In lower Olmsted, Bulldog Theater was used for various competitions, and a poker tournament was played in the main area.
Vice Provost Wanda Everage was one of the administrators present at the event to support and celebrate the students and community of Drake. Said she she loves the variety of activities that were created for the event and especially that the event was a student initiative.
Students, faculty, administrators and general staff were all out for Celebrate Drake which helped bring together all of the Drake community.
“Students need to see that we support them,” Everage said.
Jan Wise, the director of student leadership and service programs, was also out and greeting students as they entered Olmsted.
“We just need to celebrate what people we are,” Wise said. She also added that it was a good break from getting ready for midterms and a great alternative to going out on a Friday night.
As the night progressed, bands changed over sets, and activities also changed. At 11:30 p.m. Ryan Price and Billy Battistone took over Bulldog Theater for their version of “The Price is Right,” where students’ names were pulled from a bag and they could compete to win prizes using the C-Store prices.
After “The Price is Right” finished up, the “Singing Bee” started up in the theater. Students were given a song to sing along to and then had to finish a line of the song after the music ended.
The contestants and crowd rocked out to songs such as “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” by the Backstreet Boys and “Closing Time” by Semi-Sonic. There was even a Disney song round for the finalists of the contest. Junior Seejo Valacheril got up and did his rendition of “Alejandro” by Lady Gaga for the crowd.
Upstairs on Pomerantz Stage, students and faculty were enjoying the comedic styling of the SHOWOFF Show, where Jonathan Burns and Evan Young told jokes, innuendos and performed some tricks that enticed the crowd.
Kaylee Brewer and Amanda Wollert, both first-year students, were in the audience for the show and enjoyed their time at Celebrate Drake.
“I like that it’s a legitimate lock-in,” Wollert said.
Once Pomerantz Stage had cleared, it was time not only to hand out some prizes for attending, but also to watch selected individuals have pies thrown in their faces.
Vice President of Student Life Byron Spears, and Battistone began pulling tickets from a box for the prizes including T-shirts and a business card holder. As soon as all of the prizes were handed out, it was time for pies to be thrown.
Spears was the first to have a pie thrown at him, followed by Crawford Hall Assistant Resident Hall Coordinator Aliza Rosenthal, and then lastly, Battistone took his place on stage to receive his pies.
As soon as the excitement over the pies had ended, it was time to hand out the Organizational Prize and the Grand Prize. Alpha Phi Omega received the $100 Sodexo credit for the Organizational Prize. Katie Richardson won the Grand Prize of two round-trip tickets.
Dean of Students Sentwali Bakari was at the event and was impressed by the attendance. The days prior to the event celebrated “Alcohol Awareness Week,” and Bakari said that this was a type of finale for the week. He said it was great to see administrators and students connecting at the event, and he hopes it will happen again.
“I know we can do this every year,” he said.
Photo: Kyle Glaser