This year, Pilots After Dark events have been dramatically changed in order to better attract students. The events will now occur Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. in The Cove, which will stay open until the end of the activities.
The responsibility of running these events has been handed over from Residence Life to Student Activities, which has created the position of Late Night Programming coordinator to plan and oversee the events.
Jeromy Koffler, Student Activities director, said the idea originated from an external assessment that occurred on campus last year which reviewed various departments.
“I think because of their presence on campus, it really raised some good questions like ‘Why does this program live over here when it could live over here?’” Koffler said. “The reason why Student Activities is working on late night programming is because it better aligns with our mission. We are meant to serve the whole campus.”
Eric Luke, the new Late Night Programming coordinator, is excited to take on the new role.
“I really liked that it was a new position,” Luke said. “There’s a lot of opportunity to really provide whatever we want here.”
Luke recently finished the graduate program at the University of the Pacific for higher education and student affairs. While he was there, Luke was a hall director and worked closely with students. Luke was also working part time at UC Berkeley, planning events and leadership programs in the College of Engineering.
Fiona Corner, assistant hall director at Corrado Hall, said Luke is working hard to attract a variety of students.
“I think Eric is doing a really good job of offering a variety of options,” Corner said. “I think he’s trying to attract different groups of people.”
Corner said the extended hours and a consistent location are important factors.
“I think having it in a central location will attract more people because they’ll always know where to go,” Corner said.
Sophomore Ryan Lambert attended Pilots After Dark events last year, but said the new setup will make it easier for him to attend more.
“If the event is something cool or something I’m intrigued by (I’ll go),” Lambert said. “Most of the time I’d look at the list and say ‘That looks fun, let’s go to that.’”
Luke said he’s been involved in on-campus student activities since his college days, and said that his main focus is to plan fun activities for students.
“This is a fun way to stay close to campus and connect with other UP students,” Luke said. “It’s a cool way for students to connect. It’s safe, easy access and free. And there’s food!”
Senior and returning RA Stan Thompson thinks that handing the responsibilities of planning Pilots After Dark events from the RAs to Student Activities will allow Residence Life to focus on their own responsibilities.
“I feel great about it really,” Thompson said. “I think it frees up our time to do more informal programming.”
Luke said Student Activities will be looking to hire students to help plan Pilots After Dark events in the near future.
Corrado Hall Director Michael Wode said these changes will positively impact Student Activities, Residence Life and all students.
“I’m excited that [Student Activities] has the necessary resources now to do what they want to do,” Wode said. “Now RAs can focus on their own internal programs. The primary focus of Res. Life is to work within the residence halls and make those good homes for the students. It’s our job to connect the students to resources on campus – and one of those resources would be Pilots After Dark.”
Luke said his hope for this year is to create events that become recognized traditions on campus.
“This being its first year in this new capacity, I’m excited to maybe develop some of those traditional events that are like Rock the Bluff or dances, where when you hear them people are like, ‘Oh yeah [I’ve heard of that],’” Luke said.
But Luke’s greatest worry is that people won’t know about the changes.
“Events and programs are only fun if people are there,” Luke said.
Announcements about upcoming Pilots After Dark events will be posted on the UP Portal and then be sent out in the PilotsUP Announcements Digest email that students receive once a week. Flyers and posters will be posted eventually.
However, Luke also hopes to get the word out to college students the best way he knows how: social media and word of mouth. Luke said he hopes that partnering with groups and organizations on campus and developing a social media presence will raise awareness of the exciting changes being made to Pilots After Dark.
Every Weekend: The Cove will be open 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
10-11:30 Live music by Tony Smiley aka The Loop Ninja
11:30-1 Karaoke; live DJ; photo booth; and prizes/giveaways
10-11:30 Bluffoons Show
11:30-1 KDUP live DJ