The University of Wisconsin Memorial Union serves many purposes. Within its walls, students can study, eat at a variety of restaurants and grab a drink with friends. Such variety can limit one from exploring the full potential of the building.
Like most buildings on campus, Memorial Union is rather large, with room for many events throughout the course of the day.
Friday, I went to “Global Get Down: An International Dance Party.” The event promised free food, international dance music, games and performances from student organizations. Any event with free food immediately piques my interest, so I trudged through the cold to the warmth of the union.
The Global Get Down was held in Tripp Commons, which was set up with chairs along its walls, a long snack table, a DJ table and a large dance floor with balloons all over it.
The food selection was decent, consisting mostly of desserts, pita chips, vegetables, hummus and drinks.
When I sat down to eat my food, I noticed a large Connect 4 game on the ground, and I went over to play a game with some people who were sitting nearby. I introduced myself and, while we were playing, I asked why they came to this event.
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“I came for the free food,” UW student Niru Archanta said. “I wasn’t expecting it to be much of a dance party but I am disappointed in how many people showed out.”
He was alluding to the emptiness of the room, which felt so spacious because all the furniture had been moved out of the way. Most people were either sitting and eating, or playing “keep the balloon up” in a circle.
The music was also unremarkable, mostly because very few people were dancing to it. I didn’t think the music was bad, but the atmosphere was not conducive to dance music.
Lucas Peterson, another attendee, alluded to the atmosphere of the event.
“This would be such a dope venue if it weren’t a university building,” Peterson said.
When people think of a dance party, they usually think alcohol, and usually not university buildings. The Global Get Down, however, attempted to defy both by throwing a dance party in a university building with no alcohol.
In my opinion, that caused them to ultimately come up short of what could have been a more memorable dance party.
Perhaps the most important and effective aspect of the event was to display the talent of student organizations, such as Jewop A Capella and LANSe workshop.
The Union may not be able to host dance parties, but I don’t think any student would really expect it to. It may advertise some events like this, but the Global Get Down was really an opportunity for clubs to throw an event which showcased their artistic expression.