Thousands of students gathered at the Anteater Recreation Center last Monday night to experience “Late Night at the ARC.”

One of Welcome Week’s most popular events, “Late Night at the ARC” is an annual event that has taken place since 1988 and has served as a way to introduce students to the non-academic aspects of student life.

“The ARC’s purpose is to serve primarily students but also the UCI community with recreation and sports activities,” Jill Shindele, the campus recreation director, said.

The event featured presentations from a variety of on-campus organizations, martial arts demonstrations, sushi making lessons, tournaments, several styles of dancing (including tango, street dancing and belly dancing), as well as competitions for students to try their luck at winning prizes. Several events, including the sushi making class, saw lines that persisted through the night.

Every few years, the event’s organizers try to reinvent it. Some years they have focused more on athletics for the club sports and intramural sports programs while other years saw a focus on different activities with the goal of providing students the largest variety of opportunities to pursue their athletic or recreational interests.

“It’s a fun Welcome Week activity and it’s nice to hang out with friends,” Samuel Grubbs, a second-year political science student, said.

Diane Monchusap | New University
Diane Monchusap | New University

The ARC is host to a variety of activities and classes for students, not all of which are athletic. It offers cooking, dance, martial arts and even CPR safety classes. Additionally, there are plans to expand the ARC’s offerings with music classes in the near future, according to Schindele.

“We hope that every student finds something […] recreational [that they’re passionate about] because it’s all about balance and we know that students that are engaged on campus are more likely to graduate.”

“Generally, people who have different interests in their lives are going to [feel more] fulfilled and there’s no better time than college [because there are] all these opportunities to find something [right for you].”

By serving as an introduction to recreational activities, clubs and classes, “Late Night” furthers the ARC’s goal of helping students find activities outside of academics in order to enhance their UCI experience. However, Schindele noted that in order to achieve this goal, Campus Recreation staff must first get students to feel comfortable coming to the ARC and seeing it as more than just a gym.

“It’s kind of a way to informally walk around the building. When they’re here, they have no other commitments––so then they’ll feel comfortable coming back.”

The ARC is free to use for all students. Classes range from $10 to $75.

“Our purpose is […] to make sure when they’re here, [students have] something other than their academic life that they can take with them when they graduate.”

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