The Lehigh After Dark funding application opened Sept. 8 for students and student organizations.
According to its website, Lehigh After Dark “helps create a vibrant campus nightlife with fun, alcohol-free social options for all Lehigh University students on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.” These events typically take place between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Jenna Papaz, the director of health advancement and prevention strategies and the Lehigh After Dark program coordinator, said what makes the program special is that there is a lot of assessment within the program.
Papaz said Lehigh After Dark tracks the frequency and the demographics — like colleges, classes and club affiliation of attendees — so they know who is coming to their events.
“We’ve constantly been going back to the data to reassess and then change our program accordingly,” she said.
Lehigh After Dark collaborates with various entities on campus, like the Athletics Department, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and the Office of First Year Experiences, to provide students with a multitude of resources to engage in non-alcoholic activities.
Papaz said last year there were more than a hundred events — including open mic nights, film screenings, dodgeball tournaments and music festivals — that drew a diverse range of students and organizations. Lehigh After Dark covered the cost of these events.
“If you come up with a really cool idea that they want to see happen on campus, and it’s alcohol-free,” Papaz said, “you found the right place.”
Students and organizations can apply for Lehigh After Dark funding through its website. Once an application is submitted, a representative will reach out to discuss a partnership.
Lehigh After Dark has several upcoming events, but Papaz admitted the beginning of the academic year starts off slow.
“Once we hit the third week of school, the applications start coming in,” Papaz said. “We just need a little bit of time for people to plan.”
As students search for alternatives to parties, it is possible Lehigh After Dark will gain popularity.
“It seems from our numbers of who has been showing up that our attendance has been increasing,” said Anastasia Canell, ’17G, a graduate assistance for Lehigh After Dark.
Papaz said Lehigh After Dark has made no plans to create alternative activities within their program, but she hopes the turnout at events will continue to grow.
John Scudder, ’19, has been involved with Lehigh After Dark since he was a first-year student. Scudder believes it is likely more students will be attending the events.
“There are probably people that go to parties because they want to but aren’t gung-ho about it,” Scudder said. “Those people may not want to deal with the risk and hopefully will attend Lehigh After Dark instead.”
Canell said Lehigh After Dark is looking into planning more Saturday activities because it is a night when there is a lot of drinking.
Papaz said students should contact her office to plan events if they are unsatisfied with the party scene and want another social outlet.
“This is why we’re here, this is what we do,” Papaz said.
Papaz wants a bigger pool of diversity within Lehigh After Dark, including undergraduate students, graduate students, athletes and Greek leaders.
Papaz said one of their biggest challenges is identifying exactly what students want.
“We don’t know what’s cool or what programs students want to do on the weekends,” Papaz said. “The student buy-in is everything.”
Canell said she hopes Lehigh After Dark can help contribute to positive change in Lehigh’s social culture.
“Lehigh After Dark is a resource for people who may not be comfortable with the drinking scene,” Canell said. “But, honestly, if drinkers want to come too, please come, we have so many fun events for everyone.”