Lehigh After Dark has two main purposes: to provide expanded social options for students on weekend nights and to support healthy student behavior, according to Matthew Kitchie, co-chair of the Lehigh After Dark committee and senior assistant dean and director of student activities.
Despite its main goal to appeal to the interests of the greater student body, Lehigh After Dark events have not proven as popular among students as the administration would like them to be.
“I do not like Lehigh After Dark events because I don’t find their activities to be interesting compared to other alternatives that could be done,” Sam Bloomstone, ’16, said.
Lehigh After Dark is geared toward supporting healthy student behavior by expanding the vibrant and exciting social environment at Lehigh and combating high-risk drinking. Kitchie said this prevention strategy means providing activities that don’t have a focus on alcohol during periods that are problematic for high-risk drinking.
“It doesn’t stop the kids who want to drink from drinking, but it does give good opportunity of fun for the kids who don’t like to drink,” said Dana Heller, ’16, who has attended multiple Lehigh After Dark events.
Heller said she thinks more advertising and a change in time for events would make turn out more successful. She said if the events were held earlier in the night, then students who would like to go out can do so after, but then students who prefer to hang out can stay.
Kitchie said part of the Lehigh After Dark design is to have students plan for their peers because they have a better understanding and idea of what activities they want than any staff members do.
“We want to create the ability and the coordination for those organizations to put on those programs, which usually comes in the way of providing funding to help offset the cost of hosting an event on campus,” Kitchie said.
While Lehigh After Dark provides the infrastructure and ability to put on a program, Kitchie said he philosophically wants to see the organizations that are hosting events to take ownership of the marketing aspect as part of the educational mission of the program.
“We help these students learn how to put on programs and how to impact their campus community but are providing the adequate support for any of the challenges that may come up,” Kitchie said.
“Twilight at Taylor” is a Lehigh After Dark event during which Sigma Chi fraternity and Alpha Chi Omega sorority team up to keep Taylor Gym open later than normal operating hours. The event will take place on Nov. 13 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
President of Alpha Chi Omega, Georgia Roth, ’16, said she thinks Lehigh After Dark would be more popular among students if the events further promoted both Greek and non-Greek affiliated students to join together and attend events that are alternatives to social events. She said she only finds hosting these events rewarding when there is a good turn out and people utilize the Lehigh After Dark system.
Will Keegan, ’16, said this year, Sigma Chi plans on having a basketball tournament during “Twilight at Taylor.”
“It will be a fun way to get everyone involved, especially those who are not members of our fraternity,” Keegan said.
Although not every sorority and fraternity is required to sponsor Lehigh After Dark events, many choose to host a program because the event can be listed as a contribution to the Lehigh community in accreditation reports.
Kitchie said that, depending on who is hosting the event, Student Activities finds that there is typically a good mix of students who return throughout the semester.
Due to confusion between the purposes of the Lehigh After Dark and the former “Late Night Lehigh” programs, the Late Night Lehigh brand was retired after the spring of 2013.
Kitchie said students and even staff members would refer to Lehigh After Dark as “Late Night Lehigh” or think the two were the same thing. However, Late Night Lehigh was a student activities initiative limited to events occurring in Lamberton Hall. It acted as a programming umbrella for student organizations, but it had no connection to Lehigh After Dark.