Most University of Connecticut students will probably never get a chance to be an American Ninja Warrior, but on Saturday night many got the chance to prove themselves by running up an inflatable ninja wall. The challenge was surrounded by a constantly morphing crowd. Students cheered in support when someone just barely made it over the top and laughed when their friends epically failed, while boisterous volunteers shouted for participants to “sign away your rights!” and complete the waiver before their run. This was just one small microcosm of the annual Block Party, hosted by the Student Union Board of Governors.
Occupying Fairfield Way and the Student Union Lawn Saturday night, the party offered a video game tournament, step performances, an alumni DJ and student performers, food trucks, lots of groups tabling with swag, a photo booth and free Insomnia cookies.
Just like at the ninja wall, SUBOG’s volunteers were helping all over to serve food, pass out tickets to comedy shows and answer questions. In addition to bonding over successes and failures on mini-challenge courses, students connected with one another while waiting in lines, sitting on the lawn under the string lights to watch the fraternities stepping, talking to Student Health Services about free condom delivery, eating grilled cheese and french fries and, in some cases, complaining.
Despite all the activities, some students, like first-semester management and engineering for manufacturing major Nathan Kowalski were underwhelmed by the event.
“I wanted free stuff,” Kowalski said. “The lines were too long … I didn’t win a free t-shirt.”
Other students were also confused about the nature of the event.
“I thought it was required,” first-semester business major Madeline Coco said.
According to first-semester accounting major Morgan Molingo, a Weekend of Welcome (WOW) leader told freshmen they were required to show up for the first hour.
Regardless of these hiccups, the night exceeded the expectations of other students.
“I didn’t expect inflatables,” first-semester engineering student Eric Cieszynski said. “That was really cool.”
Ultimately, whether students were pleased or bored, they were out of their dorm room, talking to and meeting new people, which is one of SUBOG’s goals with the event, along with introducing their brand to the freshmen.
“It’s mainly just a kickoff of the year, to show all the new students what we’re all about and what SUBOG is all about,” fifth-semester marketing major and SUBOG concert chair Jacob Stockman said.
SUBOG’s leaders plan on listening to all student opinions, whether good or bad, so their various committees can plan future events accordingly.
“The biggest thing is new student feedback,” Stockman said. “We have a whole class of new eyes and new opinions and new needs that we’re supposed to fulfill so I’m looking forward to listening in to what people are saying and making sure we’re catering to the new people and seeing how returning students like the changes we brought.”
Ultimately, Stockman stressed that SUBOG is “for the students, by the students,” so students like Kowalski are always welcome to get involved to help the organization become what they think it should be.
Alex Houdeshell is the managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.