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Dog Town After Hours brings Drake students together for service and fun

Photo Courtesy of Paityne Gehring

Dogtown After Hours, a Drake tradition and one of campus’s largest events, was a success last Friday night.

The event, originally helmed by Student Senate and the Student Activities Board, now has its own registered student organization and leadership team that started planning in August.

“Immediately, we start brainstorming ideas. We throw out [ideas] as crazy or as simple as possible,” DTAH co-chair Carissa Johnson said.

This year’s theme was Intergalactic Arcade. Activities included laser tag, arcade games, bubble soccer, massage chairs, coloring, a raffle, free food and entertainment from Drake’s performance student organizations.

“[DTAH] has been a really great way for the Drake community to get to know what Blue Crew is all about,” Blue Crew President Kay Awonaike said. “We get to do a showcase every semester, which is really fun, but it is nice to get to do other events with other organizations, so that people know that Blue Crew exists and we are for everybody.”

Later in the evening, the Brocal Chords, D+ Improv and Fermata the Blue performed sets and drew in large crowds. Attendees said they were a highlight of the night.

“I was excited to see all the performers too. I have friends in Brocals and D+,” sophomore Grace Brinker said. “I really liked the D+ show. I did improv back in high school and middle school, so it is really fun for me to see it even though I am not involved in it anymore.” 

One of the more popular activities at DTAH was the service activity, led by DTAH Service Chair Allison Schaffer.

“People kept coming up to me and saying how much they enjoyed it, which made me pretty happy,” Schaffer said. “All the stuffed animals were [stuffed] in, like, an hour.”

Schaffer said the animals in question will be donated to MercyOne hospital’s children department and a local food bank.

“A lot of people I didn’t even know [talked] to me and [said] they were really excited to donate their stuffed animals to kids,” Schaffer said.

According to attendees, another big draw was the free food and raffle prizes. 

“I had seen [DTAH] promoted a lot on social media and I thought it would be something nice and fun to do. I also heard there would be prizes and food, so I figured why not?” first-year Kylie Emery said.

The raffle prizes included an air fryer, Oculus VR headset, Fire TV and many smaller items. DTAH staff and volunteers drew names every hour on the hour and held the final drawing at 11:45. 

“I definitely had a bit of disbelief and enticement when I got the text [that I won a prize],” first-year Patricia Kowalkowski said, who won tickets to SkyZone. 

DTAH has been an annual event since 2011, with two cancellations for funding and COVID-19 in 2013 and 2020, respectively, and this year’s attendance proved it’s still going strong.

Johnson said she was impressed by the number of people who returned to the event simply because they saw the posters around campus or the posts on social media.

“Last night, I saw a bunch of seniors,” Johnson said.

These seniors could have been anywhere on a Friday night and chose to participate in all the fun activities DTAH had to offer.

DTAH’s mission is to promote a fun alcohol-free event for Drake students. Every year the event is hosted the day after Blitz Day to showcase ways to have fun without alcohol before Relays season. 

“[DTAH] is a really nice way to have the whole campus community come together for an event and have it be a safe and fun event with lots of different activities,” Brinker said. “It is a nice way to spend your Friday night. I feel like this isn’t a super common college experience that schools put on.”

Planning for DTAH 2024 is already underway. Johnson and Schaffer said the leadership team will start by recapping what went well at this year’s event in preparation for next year’s activities.

Attendees have their own suggestions for next year’s Dogtown After Hours.

“I want to see Griff more,” Emery said.

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