Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, as it is sometimes called, is always a time of fun and festivity for the living, especially so for college students. Unfortunately, this year, Halloween happened to fall in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, making many of the activities that students would normally do to celebrate the holiday, such as going to parties, ill-advised. Luckily, the newly-created auxiliary of the Student Government Association (SGA), Student Outlook Action Resources (SOAR), stepped up to ensure that students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University could enjoy a safe and fun Halloween evening.
The idea for the event started when SOAR Director Savannah Gallop “heard several individuals explain that they were worried about attending in person events on and off campus.” She realized that some students might be tempted to go to dangerous events and that they should be provided with an “exciting and safe” alternative. Gallop also says that SOAR put on the event because “there was a severe lack of school spirit and seasonal spirit.”
From the original inspiration, Gallop then brought the idea to the rest of SOAR, who agreed that the possibility of students attending risky events was a problem. Then the planning process, which was “a bit of a roller coaster for a little bit,” according to SOAR Head of Marketing Grace Brown, started. According to many sources, SGA Secretary Allyson Campbell was instrumental in planning the event. Brown says that Campbell “was definitely our biggest helper with this event,” while SGA President Melea Tucker says that “all the credit goes to my great SGA Secretary Allyson Campbell and her astonishing SOAR Executives.”
The planning process was particularly challenging for SOAR Executives because of COVID-19 restrictions. Brown says that “it’s difficult to find fun activities that can cater to large groups that are still interesting,” and that “social distancing guidelines are obviously a hurdle for planning any event right now.” SOAR had to do things differently than normal, such as, as Gallop says, “finding spaces that would support a large group of individuals, pre-packaging goodie bags in a sanitized area with gloves, and determining exactly how big of an event we felt comfortable pulling off.”
Once the planning was complete, SOAR had designed a large, campus-wide event. In the Lower Hanger of the Student Union, students played Bingo for prizes that included plushies, blankets, and ramen. Meanwhile in the Dining Pavilion, attendees painted pumpkins and face masks, and, after Bingo and pumpkin painting, students got to see the movie “The Addams Family” in the Davis Learning Center Auditorium.
Brown says that the event “went great,” adding that SOAR had “had a grand total of 95 people show up to at least one of the three activities.” Campbell says that SOAR had “over 100 people show up over all!” In total, somewhere between 95-100 students attended the event. Bingo and painting were the biggest hits of the night. Ashley Elliot, chairperson of the Student Campus Enhancement Fund (SCEF) and senior who attended the event, said that the event “was very well done,” adding that it was “really fun,” and that she was glad that she went.
The student attendees were not the only ones who had fun though. Tucker attended the event, dressed as a shark, said that he thought the event was “great,” while Brown said that she had “a lot of fun planning the event,” and Hoa Nguyen, a SOAR member who volunteered to make sure that the Bingo dabbers were properly sanitized said that she had “a lot of fun” working the evening festivities.
Looking at lessons learned for events in the future, all of the SGA and SOAR Executives say that the event went wonderfully, with Campbell giving the event a “9.9/10.” Of course, there is always room for improvement, and Tucker says that he believes that SOAR “could use more scenery work for next time,” while Elliot says that SOAR should have had “More blankets and squishies!” Tucker adds that “those SOAR Executives have a bright future in student leadership.”
All in all, it looks like students can look forward to more events from SOAR, as Executives, volunteers, and attendees alike seemed to enjoy SOAR’s very first event.
SOAR is a new program, an embedded auxiliary of the Student Government Association. While SGA officials are elected by the student body, SOAR Executives and members are all volunteers. SOAR is run by Savannah Gallop, Director, and Erik Lechleitner, Assistant Director. Students interested in becoming involved can always contact SOAR or SGA leadership.