UB, Residential Life take a gamble on ‘Rollin’ in Vegas’

March 31, 2010

by Amber Guyotte

Union Board and the Department of Residential Life joined forces and took a gamble to bring the essence of Las Vegas to campus.

Rollin’ in Vegas was held from 7-11 p.m. Tuesday in the Student Center.

Students had the opportunity to win more than $2,000 in prizes by cashing in their winnings for raffle tickets. They were given $50,000 for poker chips at the door and had the entire night to play. A variety of casino games, an oxygen bar, karaoke, dancing and a disc jockey were all part of this event. A buffet and drinks were also provided.

More than 500 people were in attendance, including 100 Union Board and Residential Life staff members.

“It was definitely a joint effort between Union Board and Residential Life because it is such an expensive program to put on that we knew we could not fund it by ourselves, so Union Board was willing to do that,” said Melanie Peel, director of Residential Life. “Union Board knew they would need help pulling it off because it’s such a big event.”

She added that plans for the event, which cost an estimated $20,000 to $25,000, began in August 2009 and that the prizes were sponsored or bought with a portion of the ticket sales money. She also said a grant was received for funding the event.

Peel said the event was for the students’ enjoyment.

“I would say the purpose is to entertain students on campus, and that’s kind of the background of why it’s always been a big deal because somebody not associated with an organization or Greek group has an opportunity to go to a semi-formal event that’s very inexpensive where they can have a great time and not have to worry about alcohol being involved.”

Stephen Lynch, Union Board president and a senior sustainable supply chain management major, said other organizations wanted to put on their own entertainment but did not have the funds, experience or manpower that Union Board has.

“I’ve seen some good ideas fall through because one of those things was missing,” Lynch said. “With Rollin’ in Vegas, we’re experimenting with a shift in how we offer entertainment. Instead of trying to do everything ourselves, Rollin’ in Vegas is a collaborative effort focusing on getting more people involved with the process of putting on entertainment.”

He said he offered Union Board’s assistance with hopes of a successful event.

“For the past 10 years, Residential Life has thrown a huge formal event called Midnight Magic,” Lynch said. “The themes varied from year-to-year, and it was always a huge turnout. However, in recent years, Residential Life has seen attendance drop, so in an effort to revamp a great tradition, I offered Union Board’s services to see if we could collaborate on something. I had seen some professional mock casino experiences at campus activity conferences, and the feedback from other schools that had them was overwhelmingly positive. I figured it would be exactly what Residential Life was looking for.”

Yunterria Tatum, a senior biology major, said she came to the event to win prizes and spent two hours at the blackjack table.

“I thought it would be great because the combined efforts of both parties would make it really fun and interesting,” Tatum said.

Cayce Murphy, a senior speech communications major, said he enjoyed the whole aspect of the event.

“It’s probably the best event I’ve been to on campus,” Murphy said. “It was done really well. It had a good atmosphere.”

Amy Stewart, a freshman medical technology major, won one of the big prizes of the night, a 32-inch TV and a Nintendo Wii Special Edition.

“It doesn’t feel real,” Stewart said. “I was stoked. A couple of friends helped me win it all.”