“Fresh Friday”: Fueling First Year Interest

Jenn Carey

Although the Alana Cultural Center was full of activity inside on Friday, August 29, any student walking within one hundred feet of the building could tell from the sights and sounds that a party was going on. With strobe lights and raging music greeting attendees at the door, the Alana Cultural Center welcomed all students to experience a fun and friendly atmosphere as they embarked on their college career.

The late night party, which featured enticements such as dancing and free beverages, was one of the many activities available to first-year students during their second night on the Colgate University campus. Inside of the Alana Cultural Center, first-years gathered for the festivities, providing them with a chance to meet each other and shake off some of their “moving to college” jitters.

“The dance is a kick off for the class of 2012 and one of the sponsored non-alcoholic events,” Alana Cultural Center’s Director Thomas Cruz said during the exciting event. “We’re expecting close to 300, maybe even more.”

His estimations seemed correct, as the Center quickly became filled with interested students who were anxious to join in on the fun.

The dance, which was part of this year’s Cultural Center’s Fresh Friday program, resulted not only from the efforts of the Alana Cultural Center staff, but members of the administration as well. In addition to Director Thomas Cruz and Outreach Programming Coordinator Shevorne Martin, members of the Alana staff, ambassadors, DOC staff, orientation staff and even Dean of First-Year Students Beverley Low had a hand in the planning.

“The event was a great success last year in my first year as Director,” Cruz said, as the party was still in full swing.

Students entering the Alana Cultural Center seemed to believe that the dance was just as much, if not more, of a success this year.

“I came because it is a good social experience,” first-year Brynn Wallner said while waiting to enter.

First-year Elizabeth Bloom likewise expressed her reason for attending the dance.

“I just wanted to get my dance on,” Bloom said.

However, the reactions to the event from the students who attended varied after the party was over.

“I really liked the setting and the music, but the place was too small,” first-year Marvee Gay Espiritu said.

For some, hopes of socialization were, unfortunately, left unmet.

“I didn’t really get to know people,” first-year Zhi Ting Chang stated, referencing the crowding that resulted from so many students attending the event.

However, both Espiritu and Chang felt that they would continue participating in activities sponsored by the Alana throughout the year. The popularity of the event and high attendance played into Director Thomas Cruz’s hopes for the upcoming school year.

“There is a big misconception that the Alana Cultural Center is only for students of color but we want to prove it is for all students,” Cruz said.

With the amount of excited and frenzied participation at Friday’s dance serving as an indicator, the Alana Cultural Center appeared to be off to a great start in the new academic year.