The UC patio and the Rat were the places to be Thursday night, as more than 4,500 students gathered to enjoy a huge “block party” that entertained students and faculty.
Hosted by WWE Superstars Mick Foley, Mark Henry and Chris Nowinski, the party began before the debate, and continued long after it had ended.
The pre-debate performance was headed by Declare Yourself Poets [DYP], a young group of poets that travels around the country encouraging young people to make a difference and vote.
“Our mission is to encourage young people to get involved and became more aware of politics,” Beau Sia, one of the members of DYP, said. “But tonight is wild, I had no idea it would be like this – it’s amazing.”
The large crowd of students prompted security to be tight as students entered the UC Patio and Breezeway. All students and faculty were required to show a valid ‘Cane card at every entrance.
“The debate party was one of the best university-sponsored events I’ve been to during my college career,” Vanessa Alvarez, sophomore, said. “I’ll probably never be as safe as I was this past week on campus. I’ve never been surrounded by so many guards.”
Despite the large crowd of students, the free food was not scarce, and students enjoyed a variety of desserts, hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken wings that were offered in tables along the UC Patio and the Rat.
“The party is excellent – there are enough people to make it a fun atmosphere, but not so many that it feels overcrowded,” Tim Keogh, senior, said. “Plus, the University gains cool points anytime there’s free food. It’s much higher quality food than I think a lot of students are used to.”
The scene was hectic before the debate, as television cameras and reporters hunted down students for quick interviews and photo ops. Once the debate got underway, the attention quickly shifted to the large screens that were placed in strategic places around the area.
Because of the big crowd, a large number of students had to sit on the grass to watch the debate.
“Overall, the party was a success,” Jana Carrero, sophomore, said. “But I think that the little space between the Food Court and the Rat was a little claustrophobic since the tables and the food lines were all situated really close together.”
The post-debate performances included Grammy award winner Jill Scott, followed by Grammy award nominee Vanessa Carlton, who was the last performance of the evening concluding minutes after midnight.
Vanessa Krause can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.