Late Night At ARC

Almost six thousand Anteaters played games, took part in tournaments, took free classes and met fellow students as part of Welcome Week’s Late Night at the ARC.

The Anteater Recreation Center was open past its usual closing time for Late Night at the ARC, a Welcome Week event that attracted 5,734 UCI students on Monday Sept. 23. The ARC was open until 3 a.m.  the following morning for the first and only time this school year, and featured games, tours of the ARC, Club and Intramural sports team recruitment, demonstrations from clubs and student organizations and tournaments such as basketball and dodge ball that were open to all UCI students. The event took several months to plan according to Director of Campus Recreation Jill Schindele.

Phuc Pham | New University

Phuc Pham | New University

“We probably started about six months ago. We met and talked about the concept of changing it from last year,” she said.

One important idea that was kept from last year was giving away free shirts. According to Schindele the idea originated last year and encouraged many to come to Late Night, so it was continued this year as well. Students that arrived early were given a free organically made T-shirt; all 3,000 given in the first hour.

“Early on it was crazy with people trying to get their free shirt and (they) created a jam before the event even started,” Schindele said. Many students arrived early just to pick up the free shirt and the ARC ran out by 9 p.m. This year, ASUCI’s Green Initiative Fund helped buy the shirts, which were made from organic and recycled cotton and have less impact on the environment during production as compared with mass produced cotton shirts. Although this idea is new, the event itself goes back decades.

Late Night at the ARC is a running Welcome Week tradition that stretches back to 1988. The event allows students to visit ARC facilities and meet ARC staff before the start of the school year. Tours of the facilities were provided by ARC staff for those that are interested. For some, it was their first time visiting the ARC.

“I feel like Late Night allows freshmen to get used to the ARC in a casual way. They get to see demonstrations and get free stuff,” said Hugh (Connie) Tran, a fourth year social ecology major and Marketing Assistant with the ARC.

The event also allows campus organizations and clubs to advertise themselves to the student population after the Involvement Fair that precedes the event. Among the clubs that advertised and gave demonstrations in the basketball courts were hula dancing, Iaido club, Japanese Karate Club, Taekwondo, and many others. Schindele feels the event benefits these organizations because would-be recruits get to see what it is they would be getting into, thus making their decisions about potentially joining easier.

“I think it’s hard when you are a student because when you look at a list of programs and you can’t picture what they are all like. With all the demonstrations however, they can get that picture and find what they want,” she said.

The event also served as a showcase for many classes that are put on by the ARC throughout the year. The most popular class was ARC Culinary Coordinator Jessica Van Roo’s sushi rolling class which ran from 8 p.m. until midnight. Anteaters were taught how to roll sushi and then allowed to eat their creations after the fact. The event required 30 pounds of crab meat, 30 pounds of cucumbers, 40 pounds of rice and one and a half gallons of vinegar. All was needed, according to Van Roo, due to the high demand.

“We get about 89 people at a time per session and we do 9 sessions a night,” Van Roo said.

Van Roo teaches the cooking classes at the ARC and she appreciates that so many would wait in line for her class. It has been popular since it began three years ago and she feels it allows her to make a connection with incoming students.

“I love being able to talk to freshmen and show them how to cook something they didn’t know how to make.”

Van Roo’s class, along with the other events, activities and demonstrations were for the benefit of incoming students.

Schindele feels the event was a success and was pleased by the high turnout. She hopes more people will come to the event next year.

“It’s a good event. It’s fun, we enjoy it as a staff, it allows us to see the incoming freshmen and for them to become familiar with what we have to offer. It will hopefully lead them to come back and see what else we have to offer.”