Moving back to Daugherty-Palmer Commons (DPC) this past weekend, The Nest dance showed a higher turnout compared to that of last year’s Upper Deck location, despite the higher security and strict enforcement of the “no drinks allowed” policy.
Starting Saturday, Sept. 10 at 10 p.m. and ending at 1 a.m. the following morning, The Nest featured a DJ, glow sticks, plenty of water, and plenty of dancing throughout the night. But while these features were seen at Nest events in the past, this year’s dance was also under different regulations to ensure student safety and prevent alcohol from being brought into the building, an issue faced last year.
“The dance party policies were updated and reviewed over the summer,” said Clint Neill, Assistant Director of Student Activities. “Student Activities, Public Safety, and the SGA [Student Government Association] sat down to review the temporary dance party.”
These policy changes included stricter enforcement of the fire code, which prevents any more than 260 people from being in DPC at any one time. To keep track of guests and this count, Programs Board volunteers were stationed at the entrance to the Nest and the exit, respectively the side doors to DPC by the laundry room and the doors on the opposite side.
“We changed how people come in and leave to control the high number of people we usually get between 12 and 1,” said Programs Board Nest Chair and senior Mica Artis, “when the Nest is most hectic.”
All those entering were given a wristband, which gave them access to the room until they left (when the wristband was removed). While students were allowed to return to The Nest after leaving, they had to re-enter through the entrance to get a new wristband.
Volunteers working at the doors kept in communication throughout the night to know when people could enter and leave to stay in line with the 260-person limit, and guests were allowed to move to the DPC patio, which was watched by Public Safety to prevent guests from leaving in that direction.
“Clubs have to pay Public Safety officers to be there to provide safety,” said Neill regarding the officers, “at the expense of the club.”
In addition to Public Safety officers, members of the First Responders Network were at the Nest, distributing information about safe, legal use of alcohol.
While alcohol policy, including not allowing any bottles or containers or even purses and backpacks in DPC, was still enforced, it was not as strict as many students seemed to expect.
“We’re not doing breathalyzer tests at the door or anything,” said Artis before the dance, “but you can only bring what’s in your pockets.”
As an event in the SGA Constitution and under SGA funding, the Nest dance parties will continue throughout the year, with specific policies outlined in To The Point.
“We know that students want to have dance parties,” said Neill, “because we’re in a rural area.”
Public Safety officers will have to be there at the event, which can take place at the Upper Deck or the recreational courts of the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center also based on the club’s preference and availability. The event will remain substance free, as always.
Additionally, the dances will need “one active and one passive educational component,” according to Neill, “to encourage healthy behavior.” This was done by the First Responders this dance with the alcohol awareness information, but can be done a multiple of ways for future events.
A big issue among students seemed to be how crowded it was, in contrast with the issue of lack of participation at the last Nest event in the Upper Deck last spring. “I was surprised by how crowded it was,” said senior and Nest guest Caroline Selle. “The music was great, but my friend and I left after half an hour because there wasn’t room to dance.”
Senior Brendan Larrabee also commented, “I liked it better when it was at the Upper Deck; there wasn’t anybody there, so you could actually get in without waiting 45 minutes.”