The Collegian
Saturday, February 24, 2024

Common Ground hosts Saturday alternative events

Cultural Alternative Events is a new series of programs sponsored by Common Ground which offer activities for students who are looking to break away from the party scene and have a mellow Saturday night, Lisa Miles, assistant director of Common Ground, said.

The cultural advisers program started last February with a dozen students dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the residence halls, Miles said. The program is a year long, unpaid leadership position, she said.

Student adviser Aleah Goldin created the idea of hosting events on Saturday nights for students who didn't want to party, Miles said. After collaborating with Common Ground the program was launched, she said.

Hosting and staffing at least one CA event is now in the job description for students wishing to become cultural advisers, Miles said.

A pizza and game night kicked off the program and more than 50 students attended, Miles said.

"We had very low expectations when we started this program," she said. "We were only going to have it for four weekends in February, but with the turn-outs we were getting we knew we had to keep it going."

The Saturday night programs continued to attract about 50 students each night from different classes, races and ethnicities, so the program was carried over to this year, she said. There have been several events including stargazing, trivia night and a pool party, Miles said.

CA Events often collaborates with different clubs on campus to further its outreach to students, Miles said. On Nov. 5 it will be pairing up with the international club, then again with the art club on Nov. 12 for cake decorating, she said.

Lorena Bolanos, a junior who lives in Freeman Hall, is one of 12 Cultural Advisers this year, she said. Although she attends several CA events, it doesn't mean she and the other participating students don't go out, she said.

"Sometimes I will go out on a Friday," she said. "And then Saturday I will want to relax a little more. I usually want to get up earlier on Sunday morning to do work, so going to a CA event is just a better option for me."

Junior Megan Dooley has never attended a CA event, but she said the program sounded like a smart solution for some students.

"I can definitely see how something like this could attract students who want to be social, but aren't necessarily comfortable at an apartment party or lodge," she said.

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Giving students an arena to meet new people in a bit of a more controlled setting was just what Miles had in mind for the program, she said.

"I'm not going to act like these kids don't go out and party," she said. "Sometimes it's just nice to get away from it for a night, and we are helping provide students with another option. We see ourselves in the future providing a role connecting students through healthy, but fun alternatives to party culture."

Contact reporter Rachael Bilney at rachael.bilney@richmond.edu.

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