Dia del Este successful: what’s the secret?

I think that most people on campus can agree that one of the most frustrating things resident students face is finding things to do over the weekends besides staying in their rooms and watching movies.

In the past, there have been complaints about the lack of a student union, the closure of the Jammin’ Java on weekends and disappointment with our gym facilities.

However, while all these are valid concerns and could help the situation, the problem could be more about how we are using – or not using – the resources we have.

I think it is safe to say that the Dia del Este weekend, a joint effort between SGA and SAB was a huge success. As the weekend approached, a lot of people were skeptical about going to the festivities, but the self-proclaimed “biggest event ever” lived up to its publicity.

Now, maybe all those people only went to the different activities in order to win the coveted XBOX 360 or iPod Touch prizes, but it was not like people sat at the events bored out of their minds. From what I could see, people seemed to be having fun, enjoying the different games, food and music.

So how was this possible, especially on Eastern’s “boring” campus? I have two theories.

First, could it be that people have been frustrated with campus activities in the past because they never truly gave them a chance? If you do not go to an event, you have no right to bash it, even if it does sound like one of the corniest things you have ever heard of. Dia del Este was successful because people came out looking to have a good time.

Second, maybe SGA and SAB finally used the facilities that we have to their advantage. I know that there are scheduling issues to face each weekend, since Eastern loves to host outside conferences, but is it really that difficult to show a movie in the auditorium at least once a month?

It would not even have to be a new movie – the classic ’80s movies shown during Dia del Este worked extremely well. All you need to do is find someone with movies and then show them on the big screen and – bam – you have an event.

Maybe SGA and SAB are too busy to plan so many events, so why not delegate the planning to other people or groups? For Dia del Este, each residence hall was responsible for creating a two-hour attraction. Again, they were fueled by the competition aspect, but it still worked.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we could be doing a lot more with weekend activities than we currently are. Yes, we might not have the most ideal facilities, but we still have a campus full of students looking for something to do.

So, SAB and SGA, don’t go defensive on me – just consider the success you had and use that knowledge for the future.

Make use of the auditorium – there are only plays and dance shows a few times each year.

Benefit from popular – and classic – games and movies. The Twister and Dutch Blitz games worked great, and who does not love reminiscing with Boy Meets World? And please, do not forget the power of karaoke.

Instead of competing with other groups, encourage them to plan events. If people know that there will be stuff to do, they may be more likely to stay on campus. You all want the same thing, so keep combining forces – and offering prizes.

Until then, I, and the rest of campus, will just have to wait until next year’s Dia del Este.

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