From Monday morning until Friday evening, West Chester University is abuzz with life, teeming with students and faculty making their way from one class or meeting to another. Once the sun sets on Friday and the weekend begins, however, tumble weeds rein supreme as many students choose to head home rather than spend the weekend at the “Dub C.”President Louis A. DiJiacomo and the Student Government Association are looking to put that trend to bed once and for all this term, by implementing a series of free weekend activities designed to give students a reason to spend their days off at WCU.
“There’s nothing that I dislike more then our reputation as a suitcase campus,” DiJiacomo said.
In order to turn things around, DiJiacomo has devised a plan to upgrade the current “Sykes After Dark” format with the financial support of the President’s office, SSI, Sykes Auxiliary and Resident Life.
“‘Sykes After Dark’ had the right theory and we’re just revisiting it,” he said.
The result, according to DiJiacomo, is a “multifaceted program” which will run from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday and incorporate the SAC midnight movies, while adding a host of new events including dances, comedy shows and fundraisers. Videogames systems, “Build-A-Bear” workshops, arts and crafts and open mic nights are all part of the future of the program.
The basic model for each week will include a large event held in the Sykes ballrooms, the SAC movie and several smaller activities spread out through the night as well as a free raffle. Each week will also include a “wide array” of food and beverages, all provided free of charge. In addition to the free food provided, the Ram’s Head Cafeteria will hold special extended hours and sell pizza until midnight.
This past Friday marked the debut of the reformatted “Sykes After Dark.” Among the featured activities was a “Snow Dance” featuring imitation snow. The snow may have been fake, but the hot chocolate bar with eight different toppings was very real. Also on the agenda was a make-you-own-snow-globe area and a 36 inch television give away.
DiJiacomo based his plan off of existing weekend programs at other universities, most notably Rowan. Along with the other members of the SGA board, he was able to visit Rowan and see it in action, which inspired him to implement it at WCU.
He also pointed out that this is a “pilot program” and that if the new “Sykes After Dark” brings out a large enough crowd, he hopes to expand it into both Thursday and Saturday, just as is the case with Rowan University. It will likely be decided in March, whether or not this is going to take place.
This Friday there will be a Casino Night, complete with videogames and a Monte Carlo photo package.
With a full slate of events scheduled to run each Friday until the end of the term— except for March 5 and 12 which would conflict with spring break— it may not be too long before weekends at West Chester become tumble weed free once and for all and parents can finally get to enjoy that empty nester lifestyle they’ve been hearing so much about.
Colin McGlinchey is a fifth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at QuadEIC@wcupa.edu