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Residence hall event takes trip to the past

April 7, 2011

Resident assistances and hall managers from Johnson and May residence hall will be putting on an all-campus event Tuesday that harkens back to the 1920s.

The event, called Speakeasy, is a new theme for the staff of Johnson and May Hall who traditionally put on the Hallapalooza event.

In the beginning of every school year, the RA’s and the hall council executive board in each hall decide whether they would like to put on an event for the campus.

Other residence halls put on events such as Grimm Hall’s Haunted Hall and McMillan and Stratton Hall’s event, Fall Ball.

RA David Peschman said programs and events sponsored by residence halls are very ambitious and take several months of planning.

Staff members from Johnson and May hall have been planning the Speakeasy event since mid November and have over 50 volunteers to help coordinate and put on the event.

Usually the residence halls put on events for the individual halls, said Peschman, but this all-campus event will include others on campus, hopefully bridging the gap between students living in the residence halls and those that don’t, Peschman said.

UWRF student Michelle Sailor is the chair of the advertising and promotions committee for the Speakeasy event and said that those involved in planning the event wanted to try something different. Sailor said that the main purpose of the Speakeasy event is to have fun.

Sailor said the event is also a way for students to learn about the 1920s.

Sailor said that the decorations will be themed around the 1920s and attendees that want to participate in the costume contest must know how people dressed in the 1920s to have a chance at winning a prize.

Even though a speakeasy in the 1920s was a place that sold alcohol during the prohibition, Sailor wanted to clarify that there will be no alcohol served at the event.

A password, which was often required to enter speakeasies in the 1920s, is required to enter the Falcon’s Nest where UW-River Falls student and DJ Abel Johnson will be spinning music.  Sailor said that the password can be found on the event posters that are hung up throughout campus.

One of the first stages in planning this event was coming up with a budget and getting the funding, Peschman said.

The Residence Hall Association and the individual hall council fund contributed around $3,000 for the event, he said.  Some of the costs include paying for the musicians, decorations, advertising and the food.  The food, which is catered by Sodexo, costs around $1,000.

Numerous sponsors from the River Falls community donated around $300 worth in gift cards and prizes to the event, Peschman said.

From 11:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday there will be a dunk tank outside of the U.C. where students are given the opportunity to dunk RAs and hall managers.

The cost to participate in the dunk tank is $1 or a non-perishable food item for donation. The 24 RAs and hall managers that consented to participate in the event will be switching out every ten minutes, Peschman said.

The event officially starts at 6:00 p.m. in the U.C. and there are several activities planned throughout the night.

A live jazz quartet will be playing traditional 1920s music at 6:00 p.m. in the Riverview Ballroom.

For those that want to dance to contemporary music, DJ Abel Johnson will be spinning from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. in the Falcon’s Nest.

A poker and blackjack tournament will start at 6:00 p.m. in the Riverview Ballroom.

The tournament is limited to 50 people so it’s a first-come first-serve for spots at the card tables, Peschman said.  The winner of the tournament will receive an ipod shuffle.

For those that want to know more about this event, coordinators will be handing out bracelets and buttons in the U.C. Friday and Monday.