Batesies enjoy 80's dance and OIE activities. MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

Batesies enjoy 80’s dance and OIE activities.
MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

The Office of Intercultural Education, Chase Hall Committee, the Office of Campus Life and other student groups banded together this past weekend to offer alternative programming to the much anticipated fall social event, 80s Dance.

The OIE responds to students requests for additional programming throughout the year. For example, on Halloween they hold a haunted house. This added entertainment is something Barbara Crespo ’15, the Assistant Program Coordinator in the OIE, wanted to do for other Bates social events.

“I think one of the things we wanted was not precisely to change what 80s dance was—it was more of adding on to that,” Crespo said. “In adding we thought of what the OIE has done previously… Providing extra programs for people who didn’t want to go to the dance or wanted something to do before.”

Some of the additions included sushi and waffle fries at a reception in the OIE, a photo booth, a Super Smash Brothers tournament, karaoke and 80s trivia. Providing alternatives to the traditional dance was made possible through collaboration with different offices and student groups. This joint effort not only benefitted the students who wanted more options 80s night, but also the Student Affairs side of the partnership.

“The OIE has been doing a lot of additional programs for students on the nights and weekends of the dances,” Qiu Fogarty, Assistant Director of Campus Life said. “This year we thought it was really important to partner up [and] to really make sure both programs were as successful as possible.”

Merging campus offices is one way Campus Life is trying to create more inclusive programming, but also to make students feel like they are not choosing between the mainstream event (the dance) and the alternative events. Putting the events on the same night and in the same location helped diminish the feeling of a separation or competition between the two options.

“This year instead of competing against [the dance] we’re just merging the experience so that it’s fluid,” OIE fellow Nancy Tran ’16 said. “Everyone knows about everything that is going on and people aren’t out of the loop.”

Holding everything in the same general area also helped make the night more inclusive to all. This year the dance was not held in the Library Arcade, instead the quad just outside of Chase.

The night before 80s, Chase Hall Committee hosted Bryce Vine on the Library Quad—it made more sense for the event coordinators and set-up crew to keep the stage in the same location as the night before. This point was brought up by security, and CHC worked collaboratively with them to make the final decision to leave the stage alone.

“I think the move was ultimately a good idea,” Fogarty said. “I know that it is hard for some people to feel like their tradition is not in the same location but it was the exact same band and the exact same dance as every year.”

Fogarty says there is room for conversation around the change in location. One bit of feedback they have already received concerns the dim lighting, so things can still change moving forward.

“Certainly we don’t have plans to change every dance’s location, but if that is something that students want that is something we can talk about,” Fogarty said.

The change in location and the more open space that was a result of the move was ultimately easier for security. Certain hazards were eliminated, like the stairs in the arcade that can lead to accidents. Furthermore, a more open space could help curb incidents of sexual harassment on the dance floor.

“Something that came out of this that is important to know is that our campus is really starting to think about violence prevention,” Fogarty said. “There are added benefits to having a more open space and certainly lighting is a huge part of that. [In] the arcade, where everyone is clumped up and has no room, there is a lot more unwanted touching and contact that is hard for us to control as a staff. It is a little bit safer to have it in a more open area where people are able to better control their personal space.”

Tran offers an additional perspective on the space change: “I also think [the dance] is changing with how Chase Hall is changing… making Chase the center of campus life, we are able to bring all these activities together on these big nights. It is really making Chase Hall become that student center we are envisioning for the future.”

Overall, Campus Life and the OIE were pleased with how the evening went. Both Tran and Crespo were happy to see new faces in the OIE and see different student groups participating.

The additional programming was also made with first-years in mind.

“Especially for first years, being their first dance, it’s important for them to know that there are other cool programs that they can take part in,” Crespo said.

Moving forward, Campus Life, the OIE and CHC welcome any feedback on how to make additions to beloved traditions like 80s, 90s and the Halloween Dance. CHC held a meeting Monday evening to collect feedback, and both Fogarty and Crespo encouraged students to swing by their offices in Chase Hall or contact them via email. Fogarty also stresses voicing comments and suggestions to members of CHC.

Overall, the coordinators are happy with the way the night went. From a Student Affairs, perspective, Fogarty saw the evening as a step in the right direction towards collaboration across campus to create inclusive traditions for all members of the community.