Students drive in for “Minions: Rise of Gru” during this year’s first MEPS Mega Weekend

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On Saturday, Sept. 24, the Major Events and Programs wing of the University of Connecticut Department of Student Activities hosted a drive-in movie event located in W lot on Storrs Road. The movie shown was “Minions: Rise of Gru,” which came out July 1, 2022, and is the fifth installment in the “Despicable Me” franchise. 

Viewers had multiple options for how they could watch the movie. Firstly, passengers could drive their cars into W lot and watch from inside. With this option, if the sound coming from the screen was too soft to reach watchers’ vehicles, there was an FM radio station available with the movie audio. The second way to view was for those without cars, as an array of chairs were set up in front of the line of vehicles, alongside ample ground space for those with blankets or their own chairs. 

The event ran smoothly, with the movie beginning a little past 8 p.m. and running until about 9:30 p.m., with people dispersing afterward. Other than the film, the event had an ice cream truck parked near the screen and popcorn was also available. 

One of the attendees was Kenzie Weng, a seventh-semester nursing student who shared a positive outlook on the occasion. 

“I enjoyed the event,” Weng said. “I thought that the movie was a great way to relax and the drive-in concept was very cool!” 

The drive-in was an installment of MEPS’ “Mega Weekends,” which is just one of the many kinds of events that the office puts on, as seventh-semester psychology and human rights student Colleen Pokorney, who currently works for MEPS, explained. 

“We have smaller things that happen every Tuesday and Thursday, and then our office also helps with Late Night,” Pokorney said. “But the bigger events like Family Weekend, Spring Weekend and these ones are just about once a month.” 

So far this semester, the smaller Tuesday and Thursday events have included s’mores on the Student Union terrace, multiple grab and go events, lawn games and more. This was the first weekend event of the year, and MEPS plans to host a variety of events for students through the program. Unfortunately for fans of the drive-in event format, it seems that this probably won’t be repeated all too soon, but according to fifth-semester political science and communications student Evan Wood – also on the MEPS staff – there have been other movie-watching events in the past. 

“Last year, we did movies back-to-back nights next to Austin, but that wasn’t a drive-in. It was just to sit on the lawn with your blanket,” Wood said. “I haven’t personally done a drive-in event, but I think it has happened in the past.” 

To follow along with what MEPS has in store for the rest of the school year, the Student Activities website has all of the updated information available. Currently, Tuesday and Thursday October events have all been added to the calendar, including DIY tote bag and make-your-own Zen garden sessions, as well as s’mores every Thursday night. Family Weekend is also on the calendar from Friday, Oct. 21 to Sunday, Oct. 23. 

For any questions regarding MEPS’ events in the future, please contact the office either by email at programs@uconn.edu, by phone at (860) 486-3423 or in person at Student Union room 307. 

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