by LIZZIE DEAL | Staff Writer
Drake’s largest alcohol alternative event, Dogtown After Hours, will make its annual appearance on Friday, March 27 by taking over Olmsted with free food, games, and prizes for students to partake in.
The event first began after two students passed away from alcohol poisoning. Dogtown After Hours Co-Chair Mercedes Hendricks is sticking with the tradition of using the event to promote safe activities for students.
“In the past, we haven’t been super good at promoting why Dogtown is on campus, so we really want to raise the awareness about those two students who passed away from alcohol poisoning. It’s to raise awareness around that, and promote people coming and doing a safe weekend event instead of going out. We really try to push people to come to our event instead of partaking in other activities that they could choose to do,” Hendricks said.
Per Dogtown tradition, details regarding the actual events and prizes are kept secret until the week of, but students can expect free food, activities of varying levels of engagement, a movie and prizes.
“There’s just so much to do. No matter who comes, they’ll find something that they really enjoy. We have a wide variety of things, especially this year, we were trying to be really particular about that. Anything from student performances to big events to little crafty things. People can expect to be entertained,” Hendricks said.
The event has been almost a year in the making, as the committee has been meeting since August. Mostly comprised of freshmen recruited at the Fall Activities Fair, students have been working to decide on activities, organize schedules and collect donations.
“We start brainstorming ideas for events that we want, things that we want, food that we want to have, prizes we want to have. Then we start reaching out to companies that can help us get that, whether it be an event, a performance, whatever. It’s a lot of logistical stuff. It goes from August, and we’re still getting final details planned right now,” Co-Chair Reilly Atkins said.
When thinking up activities for the event to include, no idea is too large.
“The first few meetings are just throwing out any and every idea you have. Even if it’s something you think will never happen, we want it because Dogtown brings crazy things that you don’t see anywhere else,” Hendricks said.
As a Registered Student Organization, the Dogtown After Hours team gets funding from a variety of different sources to put on the event.
“We get annual funding through Senate, or Student Fee Allocation Committee. We’re presenting our budget for next year to them as well. We also get money through RHA, who is one of our collaborating partners, as well as through Jerry Parker’s office and Marty Martin,” Atkins said.
For Atkins, the most difficult part of planning the event has been adjusting to her new leadership role and the more logistical details that came with it.
“Last year I wasn’t a Co-Chair, so I didn’t have to do as much of the logistical planning because I was just on the Prizes Committee. This year, I’m having to work with public safety, facilities, office of events and getting contracts signed. All of that stuff has been a different challenge, but it’s been good,” Atkins said.
The event usually pulls 750 to 1,000 students. The team is hoping to break 1,000 attendees this year.
“Every year, we want to bring more and more students. We want more students to become aware of the event and promote it to their friends,” Hendricks said.