Moonbounce. Petting zoo. Candy.
These ingredients have quickly become the staples of any successful event at the College of William and Mary. Using this information to their advantage each year, the Student Assembly puts on events for students who need the occasional break from studying and volunteering. On Friday, the SA put on their annual Spooktacular event, in the Sunken Garden.
“Spooktacular is an event put on by the Student Life Department of Student Assembly,” Undersecretary of Student Services Alyssa Zhu ’14 said. “It happens every year as a family-friendly event to try and form a closer bond with the City of Williamsburg and the community around and within the College.”
The SA uses this event to actively integrate organizations on campus, local schools such as Matthew Whaley Elementary School, and the community of Williamsburg.
Adam Stokes ’12, secretary of Student Life, teaches at one of the local elementary schools and had the kids take home a flyer inviting them to join in the festivities.
To reach students at the College, the SA utilized social media such as Student Happenings, Facebook, campus-wide emails and many other outlets because they wanted everyone to know about it and get involved.
“It’s fun for the community because it’s representing both the student body and the student organizations,” Undersecretary of Student Organizations Muthulakshmi Lakshmanan ’14 said.
Some of the volunteer groups in attendance included the Global Medical Brigade, William and Mary Medical Aid, Students Helping Honduras and the Global Village Project. Each of these organizations had to pay to fundraise at the event, and the winner of the best volunteer table received a $50 Wawa gift card.
“I think this event is a very good way to marry Halloween and coming out to spread awareness in a fun way with all the things going on. It’s great to spend time with friends, and it’s a very well-rounded event,” Lavaya Gupta ’12, a member of Students Helping Honduras, said. “It’s an opportunity to do some fundraising as well as have a great time. “
Each booth featured different student organizations and different activities.
“The student organizations and volunteers are great, and we really couldn’t have done it without them,” Zhu said.
In all the activities, elementary school children and College students, graduate students and undergraduate students were indistinguishable as they jumped in the moonbounce, petting every animal they could chase down, wiped their dirty hands on their pants and bounced to the music played by the D.J.
“There is the petting zoo, trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples, three-legged races, egg-and-spoon races, pumpkin painting, apple bobbing and a haunted house happening later in the evening,” Zhu said.
The event was supposed to be held Halloween weekend but was pushed back a week to finalize plans. The weather Friday was more inviting and less rainy than Halloween weekend, and although it wasn’t Halloween, the SA still wanted to include their haunted house.
The haunted house is a new installment the SA just introduced this year and they are hoping to scare a few people and continue the tradition when they hold Spooktacular next year.
“This is the best event that Student Assembly puts on all year. It’s just a really cool way to engage the community and campus,” Coleen Herbert ’14 said.
Among the many activities featured at the event, the clear fan favorite was the petting zoo, a commodity for college students. All those in attendance were in collective agreement that the animals were the best part.
“Everyone can enjoy the animals … and I guess the other things, too,” Nathan Schaaf ’15 said.
Set up began just before 4 p.m. when students began to show up at the Sunken Gardens, and, as the day progressed, more people arrived to see the animals and the children. The event was a welcome break after a hard week of classes and one that students of the college and members of the community alike could enjoy.
“It really shows that William and Mary spirit, and it’s great to have so many people out here attending the event,” Zhu said.
The SA has a few more events up its sleeve this year, including an event just for student organizations and one ongoing project, HARK, a social networking site specifically for College students that is still in development.
“It’s so nice that the event turned out so well because we’ve literally been living and breathing Spooktacular for weeks,” Lakshmanan said.