After the extreme success of the Celebrate Drake event put on by the Student Life Office last October, Drake student organizations will be bringing a similar event called Dogtown After Hours to campus this April.
The original Celebrate Drake was a hit on campus, bringing in around 700 students to participate in the night’s festivities. The unique aspect of this event was that the majority of it was organized and carried out completely by students.
“Administration recognized that students wanted to do something for themselves and didn’t hold them back from accomplishing the event,” Student Senate Vice President of Student Activities Greg Larson said.
Dogtown After Hours is an event with the overall goal to involve students and student organizations, but the approach is quite different this time around. All on-campus organizations have the opportunity to participate in a contest where they will plan some sort of alcohol-free event for all Drake students in a format somewhat similar to Celebrate Drake.
Groups have a theoretical budget of $10,000 to work with and the winning group will receive $1,000 to put toward an event for their own organization.
Dogtown After Hours is different than most other student sponsored programs because it allows students on campus to choose what they would like to see in such a huge campus event. Rather than just one organization selecting what it feels would be popular simply based on its own opinions, Dogtown After Hours encourages Drake students to be creative and brainstorm what the majority of campus would participate in.
Celebrate Drake was originally meant to serve as an anti-alcohol program, but as the plans continued, it, along with Dogtown After Hours, developed into much more.
“Initially it was an alcohol alternative,” Larson said. “But all the parties involved hoped it could morph into something to encourage and build-up school spirit and community.”
The goal for Dogtown After Hours is to encompass all of these factors. The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, April 8, the day after Blitz Day for the 2011 Drake Relays.
“We thought it would be neat to kick off Relays, which is more of a partying time, in a more responsible and communal way,” Larson said.
With the event being held in a competition-type format, one of the many goals is to increase attendance and participation due to the talk and hype about the event so far in advance. Student Senate Vice President of Student Life Byron Spears said that he would like to see somewhere around 1,000 people.
“If we could get about a third of undergrad students to attend then we’re doing something big on campus,” Spears said.
“And if that’s the case, then we know we’re doing something right,” Larson added.
Larson and Spears said that there are no specific criteria for what is expected from organizations entering the contest, but that with such a large amount of money available, there are several possibilities. Contributions have been made to the project from various groups, including specific money allotted for the event by Student Senate, donations from GuideOne Insurance in West Des Moines, contributions from major on-campus organizations such as the Residence Hall Association, the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council and the Student Activities Board, as well as funding from the office of University President David Maxwell.
“With the amount of money that’s available, the possibilities are pretty limitless,” Spears said. “There’s no real blueprint for success, we’re just looking for something that you don’t traditionally get.”
Applications from organizations wishing to participate in the Dogtown After Hours contest are due Friday, Feb. 11, instead of Feb. 9 as previously advertised. Interviews and presentations will be held the following Friday with the final decision made somewhere around Feb. 20, if not before.
To sum up the overall reason for the event, Larson said, “It seems like negative publicity clouds airwaves too often and to have an event like this with such a positive mission and potentially a positive effect on people could really go a long way.”