Back to school dance hosts record numbers during first weekend back
By Hannah Simpson
Around the Town Editor
An estimated 1,100 students danced the night away in the Jones Athletic Center Auxiliary Gym Aug. 18 during the back-to-school dance, said Director for Student Life Robert Cooper.
“Even though it’s only been a week, we’ve doubled our numbers from previous years,” Cooper said.
“We’ve never had that many students on a weekend,” he continued.
Cooper said that the large turn-out came not only from the influx of freshmen students, but because the hosting organization, the Association of Campus Entertainment (ACE), “hit the ground running.”
“We’re trying to make sure that students have a fun first weekend,” Cooper said.
Freshmen weren’t the only guests for Saturday’s party.
Many sophomores, juniors and seniors arrived to check out the recently instigated cheaper prices and later hours.
Although the dance was previously advertised at $5 per student, it was dropped to $3 at the last minute.
In previous years, dances lasted until 1 a.m., but this semester ACE will be hosting dances that last until 2 a.m.
Cooper said that students had voiced opinions over the summer concerning the high prices and early end to campus dances.
“We wanted to give the students what they wanted,” Cooper said.
ACE Coordinator Jesse Dobbins said that the $3 price may be considered for the standard price for campus dances.
“Students aren’t willing to pay that much just for a campus dance,” he said.
Cooper said that some dances will be considered for the $3 average price.
Dances such as the one taking place during Homecoming will not be reduced, he continued.
Enrico Warren, president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., said the longer hours added to the party atmosphere.
“It feels like a real club now,” he said. “It’s a good stress relief before people start getting into homework.”
Those who didn’t dance lingered by open doorways or two large fans on opposite sides of the gymnasium due to the heat.
The auxiliary gym has no ventilation or air conditioning system installed, and the swirling lights, moving bodies and high temperatures kept some students off the dance floor.
Cooper told the SGA at the Aug. 15 meeting that all campus dances will be held in the new Annex when it opens later this fall.
Freshman Anthony Chavis arrived at the gym as the party began to experience his first dance as a UNCP student.
“Now I know to come to parties later,” he said.
“I was out here (at the beginning) doing the electric slide with 40 people,” Chavis continued.
The party, which started at 9 p.m., did not come to life until 11 p.m. when students lined up to get their student IDs checked and hands stamped, wearing everything from pajamas to stiletto heels.
Despite the heat, sophomore Jamila Guy said she enjoyed the dance and other campus activities during her first week after returning to UNCP.
“If ACE keeps throwing parties and keep the activities like they are, this should be a good year,” Guy said.