Last spring, the Student Programming and Events Council (SPEC), along with staff adviser Alison Bartel Keller, began to brainstorm how they would bring the student population of Richmond together in what President Edward Ayers calls a campus unifying event under the University's Strategic Plan.
The group, along with seniors Katie Der and Dan Colosimo, came together and decided that Trick or Treat Street would be the perfect venue. The event, which has largely been led by Greek life in the past would now be more inclusive and allow any student organization to participate.
"You don't want to force students to come," Der, the vice president of TOTS for Panhellenic Council, said. "You want them to be excited and to want to help out."
In order to spread the word around to all the organizations on campus, both Der and Colosimo had to do some advertising, and they had to advertise early on.
Colosimo, the vice president of TOTS for IFC, said he had to have one-on-one meetings with leaders of student-run programs.
"We consistently had to reach out to all the groups on campus," Colosimo said. "Some of them didn't even know what Trick or Treat Street was."
Trick or Treat Street was also advertised outside of the Richmond bubble. Lite 98.1, a local radio station, ran a brief advertisement on its station and the Richmond Times-Dispatch also ran an ad.
"It's hard to find an event like TOTS that is catered to young children on Halloween," Colosimo said. "It's during the day, not scary and family friendly."
Trick or Treat Street 2010, held this past Saturday, was a huge success, Der and Colosimo said.
A variety of student organizations participated including: WILL, WGSS, Camp Kesem, Global Health, Honor Council, Judicial Council, Women in Math and Science, Asian Student Union, WCGA, RCSGA and more. These organizations could donate a certain amount of money in order to have their own event at Trick or Treat Street or simply provide volunteers to help out at other stations that were already set up.
The staging area for Trick or Treat Street was also condensed this year. Instead of using all of the lodges, only a portion of the Special Events parking lot in front of Old Fraternity Row was used to host Richmond-area children and their families.
"This smaller area gave it more of a carnival atmosphere," Der said.
The entrance to Trick or Treat Street was adorned with stacks of hay and an arch of black and orange balloons. Children could play games such as ring toss, croquet, and basketball as well as participate in arts and crafts including pumpkin decorating and face painting. The lodges were decorated as haunted houses for the kids to walk through and there were tables and chairs set up where families could take a break and grab something to eat.
Der said she had received a lot of positive feedback from Richmond students concerning Trick or Treat Street 2010 and that it was one of the most successful in years.
"You don't realize how much the kids really enjoy [Trick or Treat Street] until you see them," Colosimo said. "Events like these are so important to them."
Der seemed to think that a good way for the university to bring more students together would be to offer more dry events.
"There should be more exciting dry events here on campus," Der said. "Last Tuesday we had Scream on the Green--it was a dry event where we had a huge movie projector outside, watched a cool movie and it was really fun."
Trick or Treat Street is not the only campus-unifying event planned for the university this year. Pig Roast will also be open to more student organizations than it has been in the past, but the details are still being discussed.
Contact reporter Bria Eulitt at firstname.lastname@example.org