Slow dancing, the Backstreet Boys and the emo kid from seventh grade algebra were all back again at Random Acts of Kindness’s middle school dance on Friday night.
The idea for the dance, which took place in the University Center Flamingo Ballroom, started as a social event for the members of Random Acts of Kindness (RAK), but was expanded to include the entire UM community. The theme was thought up on a whim.
“We thought, ‘Aren’t middle school dances fun?,'” said Carol Perry, a RAK member. “It’s like we’re taking a trip back in time.”
Most people were dressed to the theme with costumes ranging from teacher’s pet to skater boy. Mandy Moore, Boyz II Men and Britney Spears made up the eclectic soundtrack and most people were more than eager to dance along.
“Name one person on this campus who wasn’t awkward at some point in middle school,” said Chris Fisher, a senior. “I think tonight is a really fun event where we can all exhibit and enjoy our collective inner dork and re-live that awkwardness.”
The majority of the 20 to 25 students in attendance were not RAK members, but Amy Sun said the focus wasn’t on how many people showed up.
“We didn’t concentrate on attendance or participation when we were planning this,” said Sun, who founded RAK at UM a year ago. “We just wanted people to have fun. That’s what our organization is all about.”
The dancing was non-stop, but when the music slowed down, everyone paired up and couples made sure to keep a good two feet between each other.
“Just like they made us do in middle school,” said Perry.
Sun came up with the idea for the group when she noticed students caught in the rain without umbrellas and wanted to help them out.
“I just thought our community needed more kindness,” Sun said. “Not because people expect or feel entitled to it, but just because.”
Some of the other events RAK has sponsored or plans to sponsor include giving away pizza, making a “free hugs” video and hosting a Kindness Carnival later in the semester.
“I think this is a great organization,” said Spencer Gray, a junior. “It’s people helping people.”
The dance ended at 9 p.m., in typical middle school style, but many people wanted to stay later.
“I had a blast,” said Gray. “We were all keeping it old school, and it was a great time.”
No definite plans are in place for another dance yet, but Sun said it was a strong possibility, given the great feedback from everyone in attendance.
“Everyone told me they had a lot of fun,” she said. “It was success because we did what RAK is all about: making people happy.”
Veronica Sepe may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.