SUBOG rolls the ‘70s back to UConn with Neon Roller Skating

Students roller-skate in the Student Union Ballroom to fun music. SUBOG held this colorful even last night. (Julie Spillane/The Daily Campus)

Students roller-skate in the Student Union Ballroom to fun music. SUBOG held this colorful even last night. (Julie Spillane/The Daily Campus)

SUBOG transformed the Student Union Ballroom into a mini Ron-A-Roll Monday, complete with roller skates and a green and purple neon mat to skate on.

Two members of SUBOG’s Special Events Committee, Olivia Thomas, a fourth-semester allied health sciences major, and Laura Calandra, a fourth-semester actuarial science major, explained how this retro event came to be. According to them, events run by SUBOG need to begin the planning process six weeks in advance of the actual event. About two months ago, committee leader TJ Fauci came up with the idea as a way to bring a more creative, retro event to UConn. The committee hired the one-man company Neon Entertainment to bring in and set up the mat and skates all the way from Buffalo, New York. Their main hope was to create a fun time for students, and many students appreciated the unexpected pick-me-up.

“I like how it’s kind of random—it’s not really celebrating anything,” Laughlin, a second-semester environmental studies major, said. “It’s kind of a silly common interest.”

On arrival to the ballroom, students were amazed by the neon floor, courtesy of the black lights set up on the sidelines, and the constant barrage of older and newer music. After lacing up the skates Neon Entertainment provided and sliding a glow-in-the-dark bracelet onto their wrists, students wobbled and slid across the mat, gradually finding their stride.

“[It was hard] at first—I can ice skate pretty well—I think I adjusted pretty fast,” Laughlin said.

The atmosphere was fun, with everyone giggling as they fell or tottered on their skates. Some, like fourth-semester puppetry major Elise Vanase and Laughlin, even dressed up for the occasion with either tie-dye clothes or distinctly 80s pants.

“Some people feel more retro than others—like some dressed up for it,” Vanase said. “I like the energy that’s happening right now.”

Others looked on with envy as fourth-semester chemical engineering and Spanish major Kamau Russell danced and spun across the floor. Russell was by far the best skater among the lot, casually throwing around advanced moves such as skating backward, speed skating and twirling around. According to him, these skills were acquired only over the course of the past two and a half years from a job he had at a roller skating rink in his hometown.

“I liked people’s facial expressions when I did something cool,” Kamau said.

After about an hour of skating, the first group of students was asked to clear off the floor to make room for the next group. While it was a bummer to take the skates off and return to homework and studying, most students left the room with a smile.

Weekdays, Mondays especially, can fall into a strict, boring routine during the semester. Students who attended the event appreciated the break in their day-to-day and the chance to have fun during one of the most stressful times of the week. Vanase expressed how happy she was on getting an opportunity to skate again.

“I’m not very good at it [skating], but I really like doing it,” Vanase said.

Hopefully SUBOG will plan similar events in the future.


Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rebecca.l.maher@uconn.edu.