Few colleges have a welcome to the incoming class like Lafayette. There’s Accepted Students Day, Orientation Week, and the highly-anticipated 1,000 Nights. It’s a night to dress up and have fun, without all the stress and drama of prom. It’s a promising new start. This year marked a new tradition for Lafayette – It was the first time that 1,000 Nights was held off campus.
The upperclassmen had mixed opinions about this “new” 1,000 Nights. A few were envious that students got to go off campus for the experience. Others didn’t mind – they liked the ability to go back to their rooms, “turn up”, and come back to the dance at will. From the perspective of Public Safety and the Office of Student Involvement, drinking was not a real issue. Students were “respectful, easy”, and they did not see any “inclination of drinking” within the freshman class. There were no Good Samaritans at 1,000 Nights, a positive in both Public Safety and the Office’s eyes.
When compared to other years, the dance was a success. Four hundred and thirty five students registered, with 410 in attendance – over 60% of the freshman class. What about the two hundred thirty nine students? With any event, there will be a lot of difference of opinion.
Charlotte Choinski ’18, attended the event but thought “four to five hours is a very long time to be somewhere with only so much to do,” Choinski said. And the freshman class did have a lot to do. The schedule for the Class of 2018’s Thousand Nights was as followed:
8:00 p.m. – Departure from Lafayette
8:30 p.m. – Arrival and Exploration of Downtown Bethlehem
9:00 p.m. – The DJ Official starts
10:30 p.m. – The Mentalist Begins
11:30 p.m. – Karaoke is available
12:30 a.m. – Buses back to Campus arrive
The plan was for “everyone to be there all at once to experience the whole schedule”, Kristen Cothran, Director of Student Involvement, said. Lauren Berry, the Connected Community Fellow, agreed. The dance, which was usually planned by Pam Brewer, the Director of Student Leadership, and the Orientation Leaders, has now gone to the Office of Student Involvement. It’s part of Lafayette’s new “Connected Communities” program. It’s geared towards students to have greater solidarity within their class years, academic excellence, and creating more class programming. The first step to this goal was booking Hotel Bethlehem. “We wanted a space that would fit the whole class”, Berry said. Hotel Bethlehem, with three stories, easily accommodated the attending 410 students.
“What other place could you hang out with your entire class?” queried Cothran and Berry.
Along with the goal of promoting a class identity, 1,000 Nights this year was planned to include all students. The Mentalist show and Karaoke were both planned for students who didn’t particularly enjoy dancing, or who wanted something else to do. Hotel Bethlehem was also chosen for its immense seating areas throughout all three floors, for people who wanted a dancing break. But some freshman wanted more than just a dancing break – they wanted to return to their rooms.
“After a certain point, when everyone was leaving, I wish I could have gone back to campus,” Emily Blum ’18 said. There was a general consensus with the freshman that transportation to and from the dance should’ve been more readily available. Some ever took cabs home. Some opted not to go all together. Students, like Justin Kim ’18, decided staying in was just a better idea. “I was busy playing Maple story,” Kim said.
According to the Office of Student Involvement, about 100 of those who couldn’t attend were athletes who had late practices or games the next day.
The Office of Student Involvement is interested as to why students didn’t attend the event. An online survey from the Office of Student Involvement will be sent out in the coming weeks, especially targeting those who did not attend 1,000 Nights. “We spoke with students in the Lafayette Activities Forum (LAF), Orientation Leaders, and our student staff in order to plan this,” Berry said.
Critiques of the event also ranged from the food being limited to hors d’oeuvres to having to pay three dollars for the ice cream bar. But, there were also students like Chris Colón ’18, who enjoyed the whole experience. “It was a good time. From the start [my friends and I] were in it to have fun,” Colón said.
Sometimes, an event is what you make of it – and 1,000 Nights is one of those events to be remembered.