Inside, there was a miniature golf course, balloons, party games, DIY crafts and a cake to top off the celebration. Every kid’s dream party celebrated Rowan After Hours’ (RAH) tenth year on Rowan’s campus.
Students were scattered about the Chamberlain Student Center this past Thursday evening participating in all that the RAH 10-year Birthday Bash had to offer.
To the right, there was the DIY station where participants could decorate their own party hats, or they could make their own flubber – a concoction of glue, food dye and other ingredients. And, of course, there was balloon artist Jeremy Nebitz who was making all kinds of creations, including colorful balloon hats.
Typical classrooms were also occupied with piñata smashers, musical chairs, pin-the-candle-on-the-birthday-cake and so so so much candy. The main attractions, located in the center, was the home-made styled mini-golf course and giant, strategic games such as Jenga and Connect 4.
The evening attracted many Profs to the Student Center, and appeared to be a place participants could have easy fun with friends. Some students, including Elly Thomas – a freshman and geographic information systems major – attended RAH by chance of simply walking through the doors. She was immediately drawn to the mini-golf and free party hats.
“What’s better than party hats?” Thomas asked.
Melissa Martinique, a junior and dual major in special education endorsement and early childhood and literacy studies, attends RAH every weekend. This time she was inspired by co-worker Noah Weinstein to attend RAH’s 10-year Birthday Bash.
“He really hyped it up, and I could tell even though he was trying to be low-key about it. It’s something he’s very very excited for, so I wanted to kind of come check it out in support,” Martinique said.
Martinique was most excited to see what the alumni chose as their weekend event. On Friday night, the celebration continued with RAH’s Greatest Hits – a combination of all the classic RAH favorites. And finally on Saturday was the big alumni dinner and event.
In honor of the birthday celebration of RAH, the people who helped originate RAH were invited back to celebrate the weekend with current Rowan students.
Jess Landolfi, undergraduate class of 2010 and graduate class of 2012, appeared excited to be reunited with the whole Rowan After Hours’ atmosphere.
“From the time when I was here when it was a pilot program, and then watching it grow to three nights a week, helping and being apart of that process is just tremendous,” Landolfi said. “And then being able to come back and be here ten years later, and regroup with people I used to love to work with and that I still care about. It’s just really awesome.”
Noah Weinstein was also one of the core students who helped initiate RAH. He mostly appreciates the RAH atmosphere, seeing students have fun and the free stuff.
“It’s the 10-years of Rowan After Hours, and I was one of the first volunteers, 10 years ago, and I work for RAH [now], too,” Weinstein said. “There’s some alumni here, for the 10-years, everyone that was invited either worked for RAH or volunteered over the last 10-years.”
Weinstein particularly enjoys when they host comedians at RAH.
Lauren Kuski, ran “late night programs” as an undergraduate and graduate student at Rowan. She just started her position as Assistant Director for RAH last year. She says she has really enjoyed her time working and making RAH fit in the Rowan community.
“I hope that students have a place to come to have fun, make friends, get some free stuff and experience something they maybe haven’t experienced before,” Kuski said. “I think we have the opportunity to offer some phenomenal programing that you don’t typically see outside of Rowan or that you would have to pay a lot of money to do.”
With that in mind, Kuski and the graduate assistants for RAH will put together new events as well as classic fan favorites about a semester in advance. Meaning, Kuski and her two graduate assistants evaluate what the students enjoyed over other events and then plan their next calendar accordingly.
“Some of our most popular programs are our casino night, bingo nights and our novelty nights,” Kuski said.
She explained those are usually the most consistent events throughout the semester, aside from a possible theme change. Kuski’s favorite RAH events are the bingo nights as she really enjoys seeing students having fun and getting into the spirit of the evenings.
To kick off the nostalgic weekend, RAH served a beautifully decorated birthday cake Thursday night while all their participants sang happy birthday to the beloved organization that continues to hold a strong history for many.
“I think this weekend for us is really exciting. Ten years ago we launched a student referendum, back in the day, to get Rowan After Hours started. And it started with a handful of very passionate students and professional staff,” Kuski said. “They were all volunteers, they did not get paid to do this, so it is amazing to me at how much progress we have made in the past 10 years from the handful of students who helped to start the program to now the full staff we have.”
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