In living color!
Popular Rowan After Hours program promotes late-night fun, school spirit.
In their classes, they’re hard at work preparing to become elementary school teachers. But seniors Caitlin Farley, Kimberly Ryan and Amy Jeziorski also are determined to cram as much fun as they possibly can into their collegiate careers.
Luckily, they have Rowan After Hours (RAH).
The popular late-night programming presented by Rowan’s Office of Student Activities offers students fun, engaging, creative activities every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night through the academic year.
Fun is the operative word.
“We’re so excited to have so many cool things to do,” said Ryan, adjusting a hot pink feather boa just so as she participated last month in Color Me Rowan Weekend, which included a live painting performance by “graffiti rebel” and “America’s Got Talent” finalist David Garibaldi, a Color Run, and the wildly popular RoGlow Paint Party (think 1,500 students splattered in neon paint, rocking out to tunes, glow sticks in hand). Color Me Rowan was presented jointly by RAH and Student University Programmers.
“We’re really into spirit and into having fun and being silly.”
“RAH weekends make the stress of classes go away,” added Farley. “Everyone goes to these events and the programmers really listen to what people want.”
Fun…and midnight buffets
Through a $31.75 per-semester fee that’s part of their student activities fee, students this semester already have enjoyed Color Me Rowan Weekend; RAH’s Gone Wild, a petting zoo featuring exotic animals; an “etiquette dinner”; the bands “Makeshift Prodigy” and “Man Overboard”; salsa dancing; and a hypnotist, comedian, and spoken word artist, among other activities.
But RAH is just getting warmed up. The rest of the semester will offer a host of fun, interactive events, including Girls’ Night Out and Guys’ Night Out, a murder mystery dinner theater show, a psychic fair, a “ghost hunter,” casino nights, game shows, movie nights, a cupcake battle, coffeehouses and karaoke.
Every RAH, which runs 9 p.m.-1 a.m., includes a midnight buffet bar that ranges from sundaes to nachos to wings to gyros to chili.
This semester, every RAH is attracting between 400 and 775 students, which translates into well over 1,000 students each weekend. That’s a figure that has remained steady for the past few years, according to Constantine Alexakos, assistant director of Student Activities and RAH’s coordinator.
The program began as a Thursday night pilot program in the spring of 2008. Then, Alexakos provided programming on a mere $70,000—and rounded up student volunteers to make it a reality.
Today, thanks to the passage of the 2008 Student Government Association referendum establishing the student activities fee, RAH runs on an annual budget of $650,0000.
‘A huge part of the Rowan experience’
“We got eight students together, went to SUNY-Binghamton, and modeled our program after theirs,” Alexakos said of RAH’s beginnings. “Since then, we’ve taken after-hours programming into a completely different realm. We’ve made RAH a huge part of the Rowan experience.
“We knew the only way to really make RAH successful—to make it part of campus—was with the funding,” he added.
RAH has created nearly 30 jobs non-work study jobs on campus for undergraduate students who are keen on bringing interesting, exciting, memorable programming to their fellow students. The program also includes an assistant director, marketing intern and two graduate assistants.
“With any major program, you need fresh eyes,” said Alexakos. “Our students have great ideas and they work extremely hard to make them a reality.”
Rhiannon “Rio” Napoli, who is in her second year as assistant director of late night weekend programming/special events, has kicked programming up to an even higher notch, said Alexakos.
“Rio works very hard every day making the program better and better,” Alexakos said.
‘Crazy events, awesome events’
That work shows, according to senior Megan Richards, marketing coordinator for RAH. Even in a year’s time, RAH’s programming has become more extreme…in a very good way, Richards said.
“We’ve done really intense events every weekend. All of the student coordinators are really dedicated to providing great programming,” said Richards, adding that her involvement in RAH has helped her improve her organizational, creative, promotional and “people skills.”
“I don’t know of any other school that provides programming three nights every weekend. And no other school I know of has even tried a paint party like RoGlow.”
RAH staffers work tirelessly to provide students with experiences they just can’t find elsewhere, Napoli said.
“With every RAH event, we’re thinking, ‘Are we providing students with activities that are worth their student activities fee?’ Napoli said. “We want them to have amazing experiences in a safe and happy environment.”
Alexakos and Richards marvel that RoGlow sold out 1,500 tickets on the very first day of classes. That demonstrates, they said, that RAH presents programming that resonates with the student body.
“We have crazy events, awesome events,” said Richards. “It’s definitely hardcore fun.”
Promotes school spirit
RAH also unites students and helps promote school spirit, Richards said.
“RAH appeals to everyone, all types of students,” she said. “It definitely offers a bonding experience for students. Our goal is to make sure that every student feels welcomed and engaged with the university.”
The program gets straight A’s from Jeziorski, an early childhood education and American studies major from Piscataway.
“RAH has become much bigger even just since last year,” Jeziorski said as she dashed off to enjoy Color Me Rowan Weekend. “We want to be covered in color!”
To learn more about RAH, visit http://www.rowan.edu/studentaffairs/studentactivities/rah/index.php.